A gun store in the rural Victorian town of Swan Hill has caused controversy with the publication of a print newspaper advertisement encouraging people to gift guns for Valentine’s Day.
The advertisement, which reads “This Valentine’s Day! Show your love with a firearm”, was commissioned by the owners of the Swan Hill Fishing and Shooting Supplies store and published in local publication, The Guardian, on Friday, February 10.
The advertisement was widely reported on, being picked up by Daily Mail Australia, AAP and 3AW in Melbourne.
Rob Duffield, the Mid-Murray area manager of the Elliott Newspaper Group which publishes the paper, was surprised by the controversy, saying most of the feedback had been positive.
“I think it was probably in the light of domestic violence [that the controversy took place]. Hindsight is a marvellous thing”.
The director of advertising regulation at NewsMediaWorks, Lianne Richards, said that while the advertisement did not violate any guidelines, it should have been more considered.
“Had I seen the ad prior to it being published, I would have suggested a rethink. It comes as no surprise that there are people dismayed by the content and, in some instances, offended, given domestic violence is a real problem.”
This is not the first Valentine’s Day advertisement the store has featured. Store owner Bec, whose surname is withheld, told Neil Mitchell on 3AW that the previous week it had run an ad titled “Single on Valentine’s Day? More money for guns”, which she said had generated no complaints.
Bec said the controversy was fanned by a minority that was looking at the advertisement from the wrong perspective. It was no different to gifting a person roses on the day, she said.
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