KEY POINTS

  • The store sent messages to customers saying the sale will go on till Thanksgiving
  • The sale was a way of celebrating the life Rittenhouse now gets to live
  • Despite criticism, the store owner said he wouldn't change a thing

The verdict from Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial was used as a marketing gimmick by a gun store and shooting range in Conroe, Texas. The Saddle River Range sent out text messages to customers and announced they were having a “Not Guilty Sale” after Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges Friday for the Kenosha protest shootings. The large sale started Saturday and is set to go on till Thanksgiving. 

“We celebrated the acquittal from a Second Amendment standpoint and a right to defend yourself point. We did not celebrate, and we do not celebrate the loss of life,” said Saddle River Range owner Thomas Bolsch, according to CBSDFW.

The sale received criticism for using the verdict of a racially-charged multiple homicide trial as a promotional tool. The backlash prompted Saddle River Range to put up a post on Instagram that defended their decision behind the “Not Guilty Sale.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Saddle River Range (@saddleriverrange)


“Some of you Received the following text blast this morning. We would like to clear up some confusion. We are celebrating the life that Kyle Rittenhouse now gets to live because he was able to defend himself without being penalized for it. This is a big win for the Second Amendment and cause for celebration. For those of you who think we are celebrating ‘the death of innocent people,’ We apologize that you didn’t take the time to gather and evaluate the actual facts from the case. We hope you decide to do so in the near future,” the store said.

“With that being said… We are having a large sale from now until Thanksgiving. Come in and take advantage of our Pre-Black Friday clearance sale. Firearms, optics, bags, gun parts, hunting and archery products and more all available at the lowest prices we've ever offered. Some items offered even below our cost!” the store continued.

The post received mixed responses, including one from longtime customer Austin Mack, according to Houston’s NBC affiliate KPRC.

“I don’t see why people were offended by it,” said Mack.

Another customer wrote on the store’s Instagram page, “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.”

Although Saddle River Range received negative feedback, the store's owner said most of the responses were supportive of the idea behind the sale.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Bolsch said.

President of the NAACP Houston Chapter spoke to KPRC and said he understands why businesses need to find ways to promote their sales. However, he warned that such promotions could worsen the divide in the community.

“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. I think it would behoove all of us to be sensitive to the messages we sent forth,” said Dr. James Dixon.

Kyle Rittenhouse, the American teenager who shot two men and wounded another during anti-police protests last year, was found not guilty of all charges Kyle Rittenhouse, the American teenager who shot two men and wounded another during anti-police protests last year, was found not guilty of all charges Photo: GETTY IMAGES via AFP / POOL