Billboard depicting armed Santa Claus sparks controversy

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RANCHO CORDOVA (KTXL) -- An electronic billboard along eastbound US-50 in Rancho Cordova is attracting attention because it shows a Santa Claus holding an AR-15 rifle.

The sign is an advertisement for the Black Friday sale at Ammo Depot, a gun shop on Folsom Boulevard near the billboard.

Brandon Lungren, one of the owners of Ammo Depot, said it was brought to his attention that some people found the advertisement offensive because of the armed Santa.

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"There's a lot of people out there that when they see a picture of a firearm, or an AR-15, or anything along those lines, they inherently think it's evil," Lungren explained. "And it's a shame that that happens."

Lungren said he and his co-workers, customers and family members have a different perspective; one from which the billboard is not meant to offend anyone.

"When we see a firearm, my kids automatically think...'hey we go do that as a family.' We have a lot of fun. We go shooting together. And it's a pastime and a hobby for my family. My kids also see it as a tool to be able to protect our family if the need ever arises."

Lungren said he would be happy to have an open dialogue with anyone who finds the billboard offensive.

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