Groupon backing away from firearm-related deals

Michael Hilton

The wait to get into the shooting range is almost two hours on the weekend, which doesn't really bother Jeff Richardson. He got a deal on Groupon for his range time Saturday afternoon. For $30 he gets one hour in the range, two rental handguns and ammunition.

"My wife bought this actually for my stepson like a month ago," said Richardson.

But the deal he took advantage of may not be around ever again.

"We did it two or three times," said Michael Hilton, who runs a shooting range. "We had a good response from it. It is a good cash flow for us, and they pay us 80 percent of the money up front."

Groupon has offered firearms-related deals on and off for years, and the deals typically sell out within hours. But the political climate has changed and Groupon is backing away from gun-related issues.

"Their official stance as we we're told on our telephone conversation is that we are suspending, not canceling," said Hilton. "We're suspending all gun related programs until they can revaluate their corporate model."

"All scheduled and current gun-related deals featured on Groupon North America, including shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting, have been placed on hiatus while we review internal standards that shape the deal inventory we feature," Julie Mossler, Groupon spokesperson, said in an emailed statement to reporters. "The category is under review following recent consumer and merchant feedback."

This has firearms instructor Ken Campbell asking why.

"I feel like we need to reach out to the Groupons or the Acme company of the world that choose to not do business with the millions and millions of us that are good Americans that choose to exercise our rights to purchase ammunition, seek training, recreationally shoot and defend ourselves and our families," said Campbell. "All of these folks need to know so they can exercise their rights to not give business to Groupon, or whoever that company is."

Gun control advocates praised the decision.