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Gun store criticized for 'back to school' promotional email

Some customers of an Arizona gun store are up in arms over a recent newsletter that featured a promotion and the phrase "back-to-school." (Photo: Yelp)

An Arizona gun store owner has drawn ire from customers for using the phrase "back-to-school" in a promotional email sent to 200,000 people. But according to Brian Smith, the owner of Tombstone Tactical, he wasn’t promoting violence.

The Phoenix firearm store, which has glowing reviews on both Yelp and Facebook, sent its weekly newsletter on Saturday morning that read, "Shoot now, pay later." Smith told ABC15 that the promotion allows customers to purchase a gun with no interest for nine months.

However, the message written under the slogan caused concern for some customers.

“Now that the kids are back in school, it’s a perfect time to take advantage of some great specials that we have priced to be the lowest available in the country," the newsletter read.

“I cannot believe these guys put this together as a promotion. Especially when they use the phrase, 'now that the kids are back in school, let’s have an assault rifle sale,'" customer Marty Ryan told ABC15.

Ryan, a gun owner, says that school shootings are constantly in "the back of our heads," as his daughter is a second-grade teacher and his grandchildren returned to school on Monday.

“How that could be missed is shocking...it’s shocking,” Ryan said.

After Ryan emailed the store, Smith personally apologized. However, Ryan says that Smith has lost his business based on principle.

“There is no way we would ever encourage violence at all,” Smith told ABC15. He added, “The idea of the email was to highlight, we just spent a bunch of money on our kids - now it’s time to spend a little bit of money on ourselves. I would apologize to anyone who took offense to that. We sent that email out to well over 200,000 people and I only received three negative responses to that email.”

Smith says that he will be more mindful before hitting send on future emails.

When asked for comment, Brian Smith directed Yahoo Lifestyle to his aforementioned statement to ABC15.

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