An engagement is supposed to be one of the most exciting times of a person’s life. Happy couples not only plan a wedding to join their lives together, but they also should be basking in the glow of their future wedded bliss. Traditionally, couples get engagement photos taken, but when one couple went to get them printed, Walmart turned them away.
Stephanie Wehner and her fiance, Mitch Strobl, posed for engagement photos together that the couple loved. They took them to Walmart to be printed, with 13 photos in all to be printed. Instead, they got 12 photos back, along with a note, which read, “MINUS ONE 5×7. NO WEAPONS.”
The “controversial” photo in question featured Wehner and Strobl together, with Strobl holding a 12-gauge Ruger Red Label over-and-under shotgun slung over his shoulder.
When Wehner and Strobl questioned the employee about the policy, she explained that she thought the photo “glorified gang violence”, which is a violation of Walmart store policy. Wehner understandably said that she was disappointed, because she thought the photo “depicts our love for each other, and I wanted to be able to display those at the reception.” Far from glorifying gang violence, Wehner thought the picture was “creative”, and explained that the Ruger Strobl was holding was the first shotgun he had purchased for himself. She said it is his favorite weapon to use when he goes hunting.
Strobl doesn’t glorify violence, either; he said that he was shocked to be accused of such a thing. Strobl’s job requires that he be a responsible gun owner, as he creates manuals about hunter safety and outdoor recreation for a living. For this couple, he said, guns are simply a part of their lives. They are not gang members, or are seeking to glorify gang or gun violence. And as if the story wasn’t already odd enough, Walmart sells guns — including rifles and shotguns by Ruger. So why is selling the guns not controversial, or glorifying gang violence, but a photo of someone holding a Ruger shotgun is?
Walmart eventually backed down and issued an apology to the couple. The problem, Walmart said, was with the employee, who was mistaken about the supposed policy. “We had a new associate who was misinformed. Her actions are not consistent with our policy,” Walmart said in a statement. A spokesperson also explained that Walmart has no policy prohibiting printing photos with guns in them.