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Living Social cancels all gun related promotions after Fort Hood shooting

On April 3rd, 2014, Living Social, a popular 'deal of the day' website that provides marketing and promotional services for local merchants, cancelled all of their active and pending firearms related promotions. This cancellation came as a direct result of the April 2nd shootings at Fort Hood in Killeen, TX that resulted in the deaths of three innocent people and the injury of 16 others.

It is clear by all accounts that the shooter, Ivan Lopez, was undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety and was distraught over a delay in granting liberty to allow him to attend his mother's funeral.

While certainly the loss of innocents lives sustained in the shootings is tragic, by canceling all firearms related promotions, Living Social would appear to be supporting the position that there is a gun issue here, when in reality it is a mental health issue.

While I am sensitive to the events that unfolded at Fort Hood, LivingSocial did not suspend airline or automobile-related promotions when the news broke of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane or the accident injuring and killing bystanders with a car during SXSW in Austin, TX.

People used an airplane and a car to cause harm; however, neither inanimate object caused harm on its own. If LivingSocial chooses to suspend a promotion in reaction to an event, then why do they not cancel promotions consistently as it relates to the respective tragedy or accident.

One of the businesses that was directly affected was my own company, Armed Personal Defense. On April 3rd, I received an email notification canceling our promotion one day before our Ultimate Firearms Safety course promotion was set to run. The representative could not tell me when or if our promotion would run in the future, but would only say that all firearms related promotions were cancelled 'indefinitely'.

As someone who had a 30 year career in business, I believe that it is poor business practice for a company that has a contract with a customer to unilaterally cancel or suspend that promotion as a knee-jerk reaction to an event, especially with virtually no notice. My own business made a significant investment in time, money and energy to prepare for the promotion, all of which was wasted as a result of the cancellation.

It is my view that by suspending firearms related promotions, Living Social is promoting the misconception that firearms related businesses and people that own firearms are the problem. Organizations like the NRA, Armed Personal Defense and gun owners everywhere do all they possible can to dispel this misconception.

Living Social needs to figure out that if people wish to cause others harm, they will find some means to do it and stop promoting the idea that certain inanimate objects like firearms are somehow evil and a source of harm to others.

Living Social should not be discriminating against businesses that promote lawful, useful and beneficial services for responsible gun owners because of the actions of a deranged individual or out of a misguided or perhaps even politically biased point of view about a certain industry.

Maybe at some point they will figure out that a substantial percentage of the households that they wish to do business with are gun owners. Based on data from the website, as of 2010 there were between 47 and 53 million households with a gun and between 70 and 80 million adults that own a gun. That would seem to be a substantial percentage of the adult population that Living Social would like to have as customers.

Just a suggestion to Living Social, you might want to do your homework on the demographics before making a decision that could actually alienate a significant percentage of those households that you would like to reach, because a large majority of those gun owning households and business owners prefer to patronize companies that share their values instead of those that vilify them.

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