Santa holds AR-15 on Chico gun range signs

Santa holds AR-15 on Chico gun range signs

CHICO, Calif. - For the second year in a row, Santa Claus is packing more than just gifts along Highway 99 in Chico.

The jolly old man is featured on three signs this year, holding an AR-15, advertising for Chico Down Range Indoor Training Center.

"It's mildly funny," Charles Barnes said of the signs. "It's attention getting. I can see why they go to that approach."

One sign, about three miles north of the shop, reads "Your Christmas tree is not a gun-free zone." Another one in front of the gun range states "I'm back and I'm checking my list." And a third says "You never know who's coming down your chimney."

"I think they're funny," Heather Robertson said. "I just think they're meant to be all in making fun of the whole having a gun issue. They're lighthearted."

Huffington Post featured the signs in a video this week, prompting the viewer to question if kids should think Santa is armed.

From a poll on the streets of Butte County Thursday, there were a handful of folks unsure of what they thought about it. There was one person who said the sign was in "bad taste." But most got a kick out of it.

"I think they're not taking it too seriously because a lot of us are OK with owning guns and we are kind of proud of the fact that we can own a gun and defend ourselves," Robertson said. "I just think they're meant to be funny."

Gun range owner Steve Dyke is one of the minds behind the signs and said they created them for a reaction and to get people talking. Yet, they know not everyone would like them.

"It was very well received last year," Dyke said. "Obviously there are people that are going to not agree with that."

Dyke said Huffington Post took one side but there is always another. They are happy to keep the conversation going and encourage people, even Santa Claus, to take their safety into their own hands.

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