Detailed on CNNMoney earlier today, deal-of-the-day site Groupon has abruptly stopped all coupons and deals related to discounts at shooting ranges and other firearm-related venues. Possibly stemming from pressure applied by gun control activists after the Sandy Hook massacre, Groupon will no longer offer deals for concealed weapons courses, clay shooting areas or any shops that sell firearms. In addition to halting all future sales of these types of coupons, the company also suspended firearm-related deals that were currently active on the site.
In a statement released by Groupon, director of communications Julie Mossler stated “Groupon has been testing firearm-related deals like shooting ranges and concealed weapons courses for the last eight months. Based on performance and customer feedback, it’s clear they’re not a fit right now.“
Mossler went on to state that the shift in policy wasn’t politically motivated and said the “change to our inventory is not a statement against these small businesses.”
Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works in Austin, spoke out against the shift in policy since he was running a Groupon deal at his establishment. That deal offered a two-for-one rate of $69 for a course to earn a concealed handgun license. The deal started on January 15 and he sold about 600 Groupons. Cargill wanted to increase the offer to 1,500 Groupons due to popularity, but the deal was canceled recently due to the shift in Goupon’s company policy.
When asked about the cancellation, Cargill stated “I was furious. My customers could not sign up for the deal. They called requesting that deal and then they were told by Groupon they could not purchase the deal because Groupon said they weren’t doing anymore gun deals at all.“
Cargill plans to contact an attorney about the cancellation of the contract. To date, Cargill hasn’t been paid for his share of the vouchers. However, Groupon typically starts issuing initial payments approximately one to two weeks after the deal ends.
Cargill is attempting to raise support for a boycott of Groupon’s service with a social media campaign as well as direct contact with people that own firearms in his community. Regarding the boycott, Cargill said “I’m calling on every American who believes in the right of safe, lawful gun ownership to join me in refusing to hand over even one red cent to an organization who has no respect for recreational or personal protection who choose to exercise their constitutional right.” Groupon representatives have not released a statement regarding Cargill’s boycott campaign.
Alternatively, advocates of gun control are praising Groupon’s removal of all firearm-related deals. In a statement released to the Huffington Post by the The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, director of communications Ladd Everritt stated “We, along with other groups, had been applying pressure to Groupon for some time now because we were disturbed by the flippant nature of previous gun deals. Even before Newtown, they were undoubtedly getting e-mails from users who threatened to discontinue their membership if Groupon continued to promote those types of deals, and I expect those emails have only accelerated in intensity after the tragedy.”