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Banner at Atascadero High stadium advertising local firearm store raises concerns

Posted at 9:19 AM, Feb 24, 2022

A sponsored advertisement at a Central Coast high school has caused concern from some local parents.

Banners with advertisements are all over the track and field at Atascadero High School, the one raising eyebrows is the one from Rooster's Firearms.

Businesses across the area show their support for schools with sponsorships. They give money to the school and in return, they get a banner on the fence at the football field.

Rooster's Firearms in Templeton is one of those businesses, which raised the question among some parents online on whether all types of businesses are okay to advertise at schools.

"Advertising I think is okay but specifically firearms I don't think is appropriate, there's just too much violence today and to have that advertising in high school where kids are influenceable I just think is wrong," said Doug Neeper, a parent of a student who attends high school.

Some parents around Atascadero agree with that, saying they are worried about the impression that has on young people.

"I think the advertisements since we are talking about high school should be appropriate for children and parents and so my thought is to not have firearm advertisements at a stadium," said Anita Neeper.

"It's important to make sure they are shown the appropriate products seeing the country's relationship with guns it seems a little aggressive for a gun store to be advertising at a high school," said Ian Halvorson.

Others tell KSBY they see it as an educational opportunity…

"I think all parents should talk to their kids about guns and safety I feel like a lot of kids should know gun safety it shouldn't be a taboo thing the more educated they are the better they are," said Amanda Roberts.

That is a similar stance Rooster's takes on the issue as well, saying they are much more than just a gun store.

"If you get down to brass tax we are a shooting sports store shooting is a sport and that's what we promote. We work in educating kids, we work in educating the public in fire safety, in handgun safety," said Rooster's Firearm owner, Terry Mulhall.

Rooster's has a deep history with Atascadero High School. The owners have 10 kids who've attended schools in the area. The most recent ones are twin boys, who are both on the football team. So their sponsorship is much more than just a business opportunity.

"The last three years with the kids in football I couldn't think of a better way to support the athletic department and be a booster and go a step above that and be a corporate sponsor," said Mulhall.

The principal also stands by their support, saying the schools appreciate all the help they can get and from a policy standpoint they are not breaking any rules.

"They're not just a local business they're one of our families, parents of our students that do a lot to support programs here at the high school," said Atascadero High School Principal, Dan Andrus.

The principal goes on to say if you are a legal business and want to support the school and students then you also have the opportunity to sponsor and advertise there.