Online daily deal provider Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN) has halted all of its current and upcoming promotions for firearms and other gun-related offers just over a month after the mass shooting in Newton, Conn.
According to Daily Finance, Groupon began to pull its gun-related deals late last week by contacting individual merchants such as Michael Cargill of Central Texas Gun Works, a gun store in Austin, Texas.
"The Groupon representative calls me up and he says that, 'Well, because of the CEO, he's decided to suspend all Groupon deals related to handguns, concealed handguns or anything dealing with guns period," Cargill later told FOX 7.
Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s involvement in the decision has not been confirmed. However, the Chicago, Ill.-based company responded with a statement over the weekend confirming that it had halted all gun deals, though it did not provide any additional information on how long these types of promotions would be withheld or the company’s motivation behind the decision.
"All scheduled and current gun-related deals featured on Groupon North America, including shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting, have been placed on hiatus while we review internal standards that shape the deal inventory we feature," a spokesperson for Groupon said in a statement to Daily Finance.
Cargill is now asking other gun owners and retailers to boycott the site, telling Daily Finance: "I'm asking everyone in the Second Amendment community to boycott Groupon, because the message they're sending is, 'Look, we do not want to support law-abiding citizens taking time out of their schedule to learn the safety surrounding firearms.'"
Groupon follows a line of other trendy tech companies now forced in the aftermath of a mass shooting to rethink the level of administrative and editorial oversight applied to user-generated content. Late last month, for instance, the 3-D printing wunderkind MakerBot removed blueprints for the lower receiver of an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle from its “Thingiverse” database. Soon after, the U.S. video game publisher Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA) removed links to weapons retailers from the promotional website for its first-person shooter “Medal of Honor: Warfighter.”
Using digital media to sell firearms is nothing new, of course -- last September, another local firearms store in Texas began offering free semi-automatic handguns in exchange for Facebook “likes.” But now that the Obama administration is sounding a different tune on gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, tech companies may be forced to rethink their values or take a firmer political stance on the issue of gun ownership.