ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) — Some are calling it disturbing and ironic. A New Mexico gun shop owner is defending his Martin Luther King Jr. Day advertisement that’s circulating in a local newspaper. He even said the ad aligns with the mission of Dr. King.
Plastered alongside women’s basketball scores in the sports section of Sunday’s Albuquerque Journal, Los Ranchos Gun Shop is promoting 10 percent off all accessories with the purchase of a gun for MLK Day.
“Certainly, Martin Luther King Day for the past three years has been a tremendous sales day for us. People have the day off,” said gun shop owner Mark Abramson.
Mention the ad, and it’s an additional 5 percent off. However, many say they’re bothered by the sales tactic.
“There’s irony and I haven’t seen any other businesses have a sale for Martin Luther King and it’s so ironic that it’s a gun shop,” said Hanz Herdia.
That irony, as some have pointed out on social media, is because of what Dr. King stood for: non-violence and peaceful protest. Not to mention, the Civil Rights leader was assassinated with a gun in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968.
“I do think it’s in bad taste and I’m sure other people have used historical figures to sell things but it also helps to reflect their morals and it doesn’t in this case,” said Allen Marquez.
Abramson said he didn’t mean to offend anyone.
“I thought it was an appropriate depiction of Dr. King. We celebrate some of the freedoms we have because of the work he did,” Abramson said.
He believes the ad is consistent with Dr. King’s mission of equality.
“Jim Crow laws and things that happened immediately after the civil war and continued for almost 100 years denied blacks, denied minorities the right to defend themselves while the majority could do that. Dr. King fought against that,” Abramson said.
However, people KRQE News 13 spoke with also say guns aside, MLK Day shouldn’t be about getting a good deal.
“It would just be nice to think about what he wanted for not just the African American community but every community for us to live in peace and move forward,” said Debra Haaland, Former NM Democratic Party Chair.
Abramson said he didn’t design the ad himself but that he approved it to run in Sunday’s newspaper.
This year marks 50 years since Dr. King’s assassination.