A gun store owner in Oceanside, California, is taking a lot of heat for a cardboard sign used to draw attention to his business. The sign is cut to resemble an AR-15 but is noticeable over-sized. However, some assumed the fake firearm was real, leading to calls to the authorities and a visit to the shop owner from the police.
As reported by ABC News, Brendan Von began using the sign last Black Friday in an effort to bring customers to his store, “Firearms Unknown.” The Marine veteran said he uses the sign on a regular basis.
Some passersby think the sign is “pretty aggressive” or a bit over the top, and even go as far as insulting Von as they go by.
“A couple people just going by, flipping me the bird, either scolding me or yelling some type of obscenity,” said Von.
Von admits the situation is irritating, especially when people contact the police claiming he was holding a rifle.
“It kind of frustrated me that somebody would call [the authorities] and make a false statement like that, knowing that it is a cardboard sign that is very flimsy.”
When police arrived to speak with Von, they requested he stop using the sign or alter it in some way. Von refused to make changes, and the police left.
“I respectfully said no,” said Von about the request. “It’s kind of a slap in the face as a veteran.”
One woman speaking about the sign said, “It looks like a machine gun, it is pretty aggressive,” continuing, “I think he’s doing too much, but then again, they do have the freedom to do that.”
Von said he’s happy his sign brought about a First Amendment debate, saying, “All of the Amendments matter.”
He went on to say, “I matter and my rights matter. Every American matters.”