April 1, 2011, - 1:11 pm

RadioShack v. the 2nd Amendment

By Debbie Schlussel

I admire the marketing genius of Steve Strand.  In a tough economy, he’s found a clever way to get customers at his Montana RadioShack franchise to sign up for two-year Dish Network packages.  He gives them a gift card for a pistol or shotgun and a free background check.  That way, you can protect yourself while you’re enjoying your new TV channels.

But RadioShack is upset.  The company claims that Strand’s gun promotion “tarnishes” the image of Radio Shack.  How?  Owning guns is legal, a right explicitly laid out in the Second Amendment.  Guns allow customers in various Radio Shack markets–some of them not so safe–to protect themselves against criminals.  And Strand is offering a $50 pizza gift certificate to customers who don’t want the guns. DirecTV is also making a big mistake, as it has declined to participate in a promotion Strand planned with that company. The proof in the pudding is that RadioShack will not say whether the promotion resulted in an uptick in sales of Dish Network through Strand.

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 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.

Radio Shack’s objection to this is silly.  Not long ago, USA Today listed the company as one likely to soon file for bankruptcy protection. By objecting to Strand’s promotion, the chain–which is struggling to survive and can ill afford to alienate a large customer base–is upsetting a nation full of gun owners who believe strongly in the Second Amendment.

Not exactly a good idea. The same goes for DirecTV.

Gun ownership is a basic American right, like free speech. Treating it–and therefore, those who exercise it–as criminal is a dumb business move.

Corporations who don’t take the time to understand the values of main street America–including gun ownership–will die.

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15 Responses

this is not about the 2nd amendment. this is about the right of a corporation to protect it’s corporate identity.

radio shack’s original client base ws children and teens, and many of it’s products are still geared towards youngsters.

not everyone and certainly not all locations, are improved bt gun ownership, while i accept the right of a store owner to advertise appropriately, that store owner, if not self-employed, has a responsibility to the corporation for which he works or whose products he sells.

this is an issue that needs arbitration rather blame and/or threats.

but it is certainly not a reason to criticize a company for wanting to protect its image – also a legal right in this country.

tlg on April 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Does RS still make Flavoradios?

I’m curious about the details of this gun give-away. If they are giving a $50 pizza certificate to folks who decline their free gun, then what kind of guns are they giving away? The cheapest you can find a decent handgun is probably $250 – $300. For that kind of money you could get a Ruger MK III, a .380 pocket pistol, or maybe one of those Italian single actions in 22LR. You really can’t get much with decent quality and adequate caliber for less than $450-$500.

Richard on April 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

If we could just outlaw all guns, except for the police, we would be so much safer from crime. If we had a problem, we could just call the police and they would get the bad guy.

We would all then be at peace, and the world would be as one. Just like John Lennon, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Barack Obama, and the United Nations want. Sounds good?

But, I will still be clinging to my Bible and guns.

Dr Dale on April 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    I like your sense of humor. For all of us who don’t live within 50 feet of a police station, if a crime happens the cops show up to do the deceased person’s body outline and fill out the reports.

    bobby99 on April 2, 2011 at 12:00 am


Why isn’t the news on CNN? Are your propaganda guys afraid not to lower morale of the nation? The news is on all Islamist website and on Romanian tv too but not on CNN.

Andy on April 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Shrewd businesses would see this market and exploit it.

RadioShack and DirecTV just don’t get Main Street USA culture.

Supporting 2nd Amendment rights is good business – as well as telling customers we’re helping to keep you and your family safe.

That’s customer goodwill no amount of advertising money can buy.

You would think that’s what RadioShack and DirecTV could use more in these hard times.

Too bad for them – and three cheers for Steve Strand!

NormanF on April 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Radio Shack is probably worried someone would confuse a soldering gun with a hand gun. Take a hand gun over a pocket protector any day. These college brainwashed liberals company executives really do not know anything about the real America. They think every one else is stupid and needs the government or some college idiot to hold their hand and tell them what to do for their own good. If they were so smart they would have a successful company on their hands, not one with one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel. Wonder if they want a bailout too?

ender on April 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Hey, if it is Radioshack’s right to dictate to a franchisee how and what type of promotions they can and cannot run, it is my right not to enter one of Radioshack’s junk shops ever again.

And to Tig’s comments that Radioshack appeals to children and teens, I first pulled a trigger on a gun when I was five, started shooting regularly when I was eight or nine, and got a rifle as a Bar Mitzvah gift when I was 12.

Not only is there nothing wrong with a younger person owning a gun after being trained on its proper and safe use, it is in fact wrong to teach children that guns are to be avoided.

Teenagers served in every war, beginning with the Revolutionary War.

When I was in high school, students brought their guns to school for the rifle team. I went not to a rural school, but to B-CC High School in Bethesda, Maryland, back when it was the only urban school in Montgomery County, Maryland.

We now teach our children to lie down and die, rather than to pick up a gun and know how defend oneself and one’s country.

The inability to own guns in Europe led to Nazism, Communism, the loss of freedom, and ultimately the Holocaust.

I am not letting that happen here.

Jonathan E. Grant on April 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

i wonder what make/model of gun he’s offering?

howard roark on April 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Maybe Khrushchev was right after all when he said our grandchildren (meaning us) would live under Communism. Not quite there yet, but getting closer all the time.

Little Al on April 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Wonder what Radio Shack did with that enormous data base of phone numbers they used to request at each and every sale. I never liked the way they acted if you declined to participate. Rudeness prevalied following the decline.

Kent on April 1, 2011 at 3:05 pm

The offer was for a shotgun or a handgun. I read a link for the promotion that said the handgun voucher was for a Hi-Point. I don’t recall the model or the shotgun brand.

Baker on April 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Having a firearm in your hand while watching bad television isn’t always wise, especially if you are under the influence of too much prescription medication. Anyone who is even rudimentarily acquainted with the off-stage antics of Elvis Presley will tell you that.

Irving on April 2, 2011 at 4:17 am

“tarnishes” the image of Radio Shack?!? Being a former RS employee, I am fully qualified to say that it’s not possible to “tarnish” the image of Radio Shit- which is what we called it 30 years ago…

Doda McCheesle on April 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Me as a Yankees fan I have a problem with Radio Shack as they sell Dish Network…it does not carry the YES Network unlike of course DIRECTV, which recently had carry issues with YES Network.

Bob Porrazzo on April 5, 2011 at 7:57 am

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