Store Refuses to Print Couple's Engagement Photo for Ridiculous Reason

engagement gun photo walmart

If you want to purchase a gun from Walmart, you’ve got several to choose from. You want a Sig Sauer rifle? A Remington? Maybe a youth shotgun or a good old pump action? How about a Ruger or a camo-printed Savage? While you’re there, you may as well pick up a carbine, a barrel, a sight, a scope, as many rounds of ammo as you can afford, a folding knife or three (I mean, as long as you’re shopping), and a sweet-ass holster — but god forbid you try and print an IMAGE of a gun in their photo center. As Stephanie Wehner learned when she picked up her shotgun-themed engagement pictures, one Walmart employee had refused to print one of the images — because it promoted a “gang culture.”

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Let me clarify Walmart’s official stance on this before we go any further, because I don’t want to create a misleading story that throws the entire retail chain under the Hypocrisy Bus: Walmart hurried to say that they do NOT actually have any rules against printing photos of guns:

We had a new associate who was misinformed. Her actions are not consistent with our policy.

Still, it’s kind of hilarious that an employee would have even thought they did. Especially considering this happened in Texas. How is it that a photo center employee at a Walmart in TEXAS had never encountered a picture of a gun before?

Anyway, it turns out the employee had refused to print one particular image, which showed Stephanie Wehner cuddling up with her fiancée Mitch Strobl, who has his prized 12-gauge Ruger Red Label slung over his shoulder. It’s the first gun he purchased for himself, and it has special meaning to him, which is why Strobl says Wehner suggested including it in one of the photos:

She came with the idea to take a creative picture where we include something that is important to us.

Personally, I think the photo is sweet and not remotely aggressive or disturbing. Check it out:

He’s clearly an outdoorsman, and the gun is even deliberately displayed in a way that makes it feel safe. I mean, it’s not like he’s aiming it at the photographer, for crying out loud.

When Wehner tried to pick up the photos, she was told the image with the firearm would not be released:

She was very nice, but very matter-of-fact, like she was not going to budge or give me my photo.

The clerk went on to say Walmart couldn’t print images of weapons, because they didn’t want to promote a “gang culture.”

Well, clearly the clerk was confused and maybe brand-new at her job, but it’s still kind of a sad statement about our increasingly polarized views about guns. Remember when the Duggars gifted their teenage son with a shotgun and people lost their damn minds? 

Gun ownership in this country is likely always going to be a hot-button issue, but I think we’re losing the ability to have any kind of level-headed discussion about what sorts of issues are actually contributing to violence. When a perfectly innocent photo of a gun stirs up such a strong reaction from someone, we’re zeroing in on the easiest culprit. Demonizing the object — in this case, one man’s shotgun — does little to further the work we need to do to look at enforcing existing regulations, improving our decrepit mental health care system, creating better deterrents to crime that don’t ignore the common underlying causes (lack of economic opportunity and education, drug use, and child abuse, to name a few), supporting community-based programs and public education instead of ineffective jail systems, and above all, reducing our irrational fears which are often based on false perceptions of danger.

What’s your reaction to this engagement photo? Are you surprised it was banned?


Image via telachhe/Flickr

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