Company kicked out of fair over 'I heart gun' T-shirt sold near school bus
CHESTER, Conn. – A company was asked to pack up its booth and leave a Connecticut fair last weekend after its gun-related T-shirt designs caused a stir.
The New Britain-based company, Ammo Crafters, is veteran-owned and operated, but the company blames a local politician – who is also a former Marine – for getting them kicked out.
Marcos Diaz, COO of Ammo Crafters, said he was surprised by what happened at the Chester Fair Saturday when First Selectwoman Lauren Gister stopped at their booth.
“(She) pretty much said 'I am offended by what you have going on over here,'” Diaz said.
Gister told WTIC off camera that her issue was with the positioning of a particular t-shirt Ammo Crafters was selling. It showed an AR-15 type rifle. In a picture she took, the T-shirt is seen hanging in their booth, with a school bus as the back drop. And, given all of the mass school shootings, she said that was in poor taste.
Diaz disagreed, saying, “(She's) pretty much saying that it’s because of companies like this or it’s because of symbolisms like this that school shootings happen, mass shootings happen,” he claims.
Gister said she doesn’t care what Ammo Crafters sells. And, she acknowledged, it’s not the company‘s fault that the fair positioned their booth right next to a school bus. But, she admits to bringing this to the attention of fair organizers.
The fair president, Tim Comstock, came to the booth after Gister and questioned the authenticity of their products, according to Diaz.
“Then it went from ‘oh well it’s not that' to 'it’s the violent nature of your products'," Diaz said.
The president handed Diaz a $100 check to refund his booth cost and asked the company to leave the fairgrounds.
“All I want is a public apology for what she did,” said Diaz, referring to Gister.
Based on sales from other fairs they have attended, Diaz said his company potentially lost several thousand dollars by being forced to leave the Chester Fair a day before it ended.