CONROE, Texas – A Conroe gun store and shooting range is facing criticism following a text message they sent to customers announcing a “not guilty sale” after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges Friday.
“We celebrated the acquittal from a second amendment standpoint and a right to defend yourself point,” said Saddle River Range owner Thomas Bolsch. “We did not celebrate, and we do not celebrate the loss of life.”
The Saddle River Range sent a text to customers saying the large sale was taking place Saturday and would last until Thanksgiving. The sale included deals on firearms, optics, bags, and gun parts among many other items.
The decision to promote the sale using an image of Rittenhouse was met with mixed emotions.
“I don’t see why people were offended by it,” said longtime customer Austin Mack.
On the Saddle River Range Instagram page, another customer said, “I really respect this store. I purchased my first gun from you all. But, as a young Black male, also a young business owner, this does not give me confidence in the justice system, and I don’t like the fact you all are capitalizing on a situation that is still so fresh.”
Bolsch said despite some of the negative feedback, most customers were supportive and positive.
“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Bolsch said.
KPRC also spoke with the President of the NAACP Houston Chapter who said he understood the need for business owners to promote sales and try to make money but cautioned that it could also divide the community further.
“It cannot be lost that they were protesting the unjust shooting of a young African American man named Jacob Blake, and so the tone of the nation has turned in a bad direction,” said Dr. James Dixon. “I think it would behoove all of us to be sensitive to the messages we sent forth.”