RadioShack owner to continue gun giveaways

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — A Montana RadioShack owner said he will continue to give away guns with satellite television subscriptions despite the corporation’s insistence he halt the promotion.

Since October, independent dealer Steve Strand has been offering a gift card for a $125 pistol or $115 shotgun and a free background check to customers who sign up for two-year Dish Network packages.

Those not interested in the firearms can opt for a $50 pizza gift certificate.

RadioShack Corp. officials called Strand on Tuesday and ordered him to pull the promotion, he told the Ravalli Republic. Strand refused, saying he is within his rights as a legal dealer and is now seeking legal representation.

“RadioShack has taken the position that we’re tarnishing their brand image with the promotion,” he said. “I don’t think this is a negative impact. I don’t think they understand the way of life in Montana.”

A statement last week from RadioShack Corp. said Strand’s offer does not follow the corporation’s marketing practices.

In an attempt to appease the company, Strand has taken down the sign in his window that said: “Protect yourself with Dish Network. Sign up now, get free gun.”

In its place is a sign advertising a website Strand set up detailing the promotion, www.GetaGun.net.

Dish Network spokesman Marc Lumpkin said Strand is an independent retailer and can offer whatever promotion he wishes.

“We’ve not objected to what he’s offering. We’re neutral on his decision to offer the firearm promotion,” Lumpkin said.

He said Dish Network is reviewing Strand’s marketing materials but declined to say whether the promotion has resulted in an uptick of subscriptions.

Strand had planned a similar promotion with DirecTV later this month. But after word of the promotion made international headlines, DirecTV said it would not participate in the giveaway.

The attention has resulted in calls from people out of state asking if they can take advantage of the promotion, Strand said. He’s gotten just two negative calls, one from the corporation and one from a RadioShack store owner in New York, he said.

“They feel like maybe we’re spoiling their brand name. I think I’m bringing a lot of attention to their brand,” Strand said.

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