Walmart is apologizing — over and over and over — after a photo taken in one of its stores surfaced showing a gun display with a back-to-school theme. The photo, in which the sign "Own The School Year Like A Hero" appears above a glass case with firearms inside it, has gone viral on Twitter and Reddit, with many expressing shock, anger, and disappointment over it.
The company initially said it removed the sign after finding out its location, thought to be Evansville, IN, according to HuffPost. But it later confirmed to HuffPost that it's still trying to find the right store. "We are actively trying to find the correct store where this happened," Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said this morning. "We can confirm this was not Evansville, Indiana. We have examined photographs and video inside the store." He said he wasn't sure if this may have been a prank or a work of Photoshop.
In an email statement, the company said: "What’s seen in this photograph would never be acceptable in our stores. We regret this situation and are looking into how it could have happened."
The retailer went into damage-control mode on social media, too. Many Twitter users said that the display is unacceptable, especially in light of the many recent mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. According to the gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been 233 school shootings in the country since 2013, which comes out to about one per week; the organization has a detailed and tragic map documenting each and every one.
Walmart has put a lot of energy into responding to countless criticisms of the display from people on Twitter, often within a few minutes. However, when asked why it sells guns at all — more than once — there was complete silence from its social media team.
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