Mitch Strobl is a passionate man. He loves his God, he loves his fiancé, and he loves hunting and the shooting sports. His career is dedicated to producing curricula that teach millions of folks how to hunt, shoot, and handle firearms safely.

CloseRange_300x250So when Mitch met Stephanie Wehner, it was only natural their dating included sharing the passion for hunting and the shooting sports. When the couple decided to get married, they took engagement photos which included these passions. One in particular shows Mitch with a Ruger Red Label shotgun broken over his shoulder—it’s the first gun he bought on his own with his own money. It’s a treasure he plans to hang on to all his life, just like his beautiful, soon-to-be new bride.

As a news clip from Dallas’ WFAA TV shows (embedded below), sharing those passions and those photos with the guests at Mitch and Stephanie’s wedding reception was the plan. Then came a bump in the road.

Stephanie took the digital photos to a local Walmart to have them printed for the display she was creating, but an associate at the store refused to print the image with the shotgun in it because in her mind and interpretation of store policy, “It promoted gang culture.”

Gang culture? Look at these two people in the photographs. What about them says “gang culture” to you?

Being intelligent, level-headed people, it didn’t take long for them to figure out what to do. As Mitch concludes in his interview, “we’re just going to print it elsewhere.” Practical, reasonable, get it done, and move on.

campchef abmHowever, it’s important Mitch and Stephanie brought this affront to public attention through this news story. The calm, respectful way they did it shows them to be thinking, clean-cut, passionate, fun-loving people leading everyday lives. It shows the world that these are the kind of people the shooting sports world is mostly made of.

No protesting with signs outside the Walmart store. No ranting and raving. No language that had to be bleeped from the interview. Simply expressing a passion for the shooting sports and the real facts about who its participants are.

While to many pro-gun supporters and rabid anti-gunners this kind of statement may be too milquetoast, it’s exactly the kind of message that plays very well with the largest group in the middle—the ones whose votes ultimately determine our future.

Mitch and Stephanie—thank you for being part of the shooting sports world. Thank you for your passion. Thank you for sharing your story. Here’s to wishing for a wonderful life together.

Editor’s note: Walmart later announced that the associate who refused to print Mitch and Stephanie’s photos was misinformed, and that Walmart has no policy against printing photos with guns.

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These insights brought to you by Federal Premium Ammunition, ThermaCELL, Camp Chef, and the Quebec Outfitters Federation.

Image is a screenshot of video by USA TODAY on YouTube

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64 thoughts on “Walmart Refuses to Print Engagement Photo with Shotgun, Couple Takes the High Ground

  1. ‘Editor’s note: Walmart later announced that the associate who refused to print Mitch and Stephanie’s photos was misinformed, and that Walmart has no policy against printing photos with guns.’

    Which makes it a non-story and a giant waste of bandwidth.

      1. Sorry, but this may be a training issue. Employee training in many cases is abysmal to non-existent. The employee involved may have thought they were following Wal-Mart policy simply because they hadn’t been properly trained, and you can’t fault someone for doing, or not doing, something because they haven’t been properly trained. I do a lot of worker training, and I am always surprised at how much ” on-the-job training” comes from other employees who haven’t been trained themselves. Don’t be too hard on the Wal-Mart employee; they may have thought they would be fired if they didn’t follow a policy that somebody else told them was real.

      2. You are partly right. Yes, what you say happens, but it is a failure of mgt. to not oversee their employees. Most large corporations have an employee handbook, which explains “do’s & don’ts” regarding their policies. Having had(thankfully!) little cause to shop at Wal-Mart, I can readily understand the failings one might encounter there. Personal experience: 10 minutes to shop, but 20 minutes to check-out, because only one register open to handle the long queue of customers. THAT, is a distinct failure of mgt..

    1. I doubt if this would be your POV if the roles had been reversed, if Walmart had at first been willing to print the picture and had been coerced to NOT print by, say, Moms Demand Action.

  2. All it proves is: there are people in stores who state policies, that are not policies; they are stating their beliefs and fears. So it was good, in the sense that it shows you just how disconnected some people in society are.

  3. I feel the point of the story was more that someone, who happened to work at Walmart, labeled them as “ganglike” because there was a gun. This mentality is all over the place. This is the thought of those not raised with, and educated about, guns. The person targeted happens to be a guy that educates and thus for wants to show that although they are gun owners, they are not angry, violent, or easily offended. This was merely an opportunity to raise that awareness.

  4. This is a very good example of the hunting fraternity’s propaganda machine at work. Doing their best to convince people that being a part of the gun culture and killing animals for fun is clean, wholesome, and normal. How despicable!

    1. If God didn’t want us to kill animals, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat. Besides, the shotgun in the photo could be used for sporting clays. But I doubt if you even know what that is.

    2. Your ignorance & stupidity are showing. Ethical hunters don’t harvest animals according to the game laws for “fun.”
      And you also ignore the fact that this couple are involved in the “shooting sports,” which account for the vast majority of firearms use. It’s a Real good guess that you’re rabidly anti-gun, period. Speaking of propaganda, it’s clearly evident that you’ve swallowed a ton of it.

      1. Listen troll, you don’t know a thing about what you say. When you harvest crops you are killing the plant, in many cases. And yes, when you harvest(dictionary def.- to catch, take, or remove for use) an animal you are also killing it. It is a commonly used and accepted term to denote the taking of wild game.

      2. Listen moron, when you kill an animal at least have the guts to call it what it is. How would you like it if someone put your lights out and told other people they had harvested you. You harvest vegetables and grain, catch a fish, and kill an animal.

  5. This is a very good example of the hunting fraternity’s propaganda machine at work. Doing their best to convince people that being a part of the gun culture and killing animals for fun is clean, wholesome, and normal. How despicable! This stinks!

    1. Alice, I sure hope that you are a vegan that never uses any animal by products in any form in your life. If not you are worse than anyone that hunts for their own food. Bottom line is hunting is a wholesome way of life if done properly. Most hunters don’t go out & torture animals & respect the environment. What you come off as is a hysterical left wing nut job that feels all guns & all people that like guns are evil & bad. You may want to think about the fraternity that you have aligned yourself with, usually self sanctimonious hypocrites.

      1. and not to mention they help control animal populations so do they dont get out of control, and cause issues. For instance too many deer could end up with mad deer disease, ruined crops for the vegans, car crashes, diseases, etc etc…. But hey they rather have animal overpopulation causing issues than to proper maintaining of a healthy population.

      1. So, perhaps it is You who needs to “engage whatever brain cells are at your disposal and I appreciate that may not be so many,” before you go making insulting off-hand comments.

      2. No, it’s definitely you because you have just done the very thing that you derided me for, which is cut and paste somebody else’s comment – i.e. mine – presumably as you have difficulty thinking up something of your own?

      1. Perhaps, youd like to KILL yourself and SPARE the planet…and those of us who are ENTITLED to eat as we PLEASE. You might wanna also make sure you DONT REPRODCE YOURSELF. The Bible CLEARLY states that WE are to have dominion over the animals. OUR TEETH ARE MADE TO HAVE AN OMNIVOROUS DIET. Go eat some GMO TOFU and get off this commentary. Ill pull out my GUNS…you can use a large CARROT…WE’LL SEE WHO WINS.

      2. Yes, we know hunters like to think that they are the ultimate winners. The truth is though that hunters are the biggest and sorriest losers of all. They – much as serial killers often do – have a grossly over-inflated sense of entitlement. They think that they can go around killing whatever they want with impunity.

        Who said that you are entitled to eat as you please? That’s what you told yourself! You’re the one with the guns – you shoot yourself with your gun and I’ll shoot myself with my carrot. Then I’ll see who wins but you of course would not be around to witness it. I would see that as a victory though with one less heartless animal abusing monster on the planet.

      3. NO…ID SHOOT YOU FOR TRESPASS ON MY LAND, DUMBASS!!! BTW…I LIVED IN GERMANY AS AN ARMY BRAT FOR 5 YEARS.I ATE MEAT OVER THERE, TOO. AN OMNIVORE, LIKE ME…COULD KICK YOUR VEGAN WEAK ASS, ANY DAY OF THE YEAR!!!! I REST MY CASE. BE GONE, IMBECILE.

      4. Really, and whose side were you on? Sounds like the nazis to me!

        Of course meat does not necessary give you strength. A well nourished vegan is healthier and stronger than a meat-eater according to the Bible that is – check it out in Daniel 1 – unless you think you know better than God!

        Of course oxen and gorillas don’t eat meat and without your guns, they would whip your ass in a second, but then so would most of the other animals you like to shoot and eat.

      5. YOURE AN IDIOT AND IM NO LONGER WASTING MY PRECIOUS TIME ENGAGING WITH AN UNEDUCATED NIT WIT. I HAVE MORE TO DO WITH MY LIFE THAN WASTING IT ON THE LIKES OF SOMEONE WHO THINKS ANIMALS HAVE MORE RIGHTS THAN HUMANS. PATHETIC…LOL!!!!

      6. Whoops is your caps lock key stuck?

        Animals may not have much in the way of rights, but they ought to have – and many people are working on that change – so that they can be protected from horrible monstrous excuses for human beings who enjoy hurting, killing and eating them, like you!

        You are pathetic because in not caring for animals and choosing to hurt and use them – and eat them instead – you don’t know what you are missing!

      7. OH, IM SORRY…I BET YOU THINK YOU HAVE THE LAST WORD. I ENJOY THE TASTE OF A GOOD FILLET MIGNON…AND CHICKEN CORDON BLEU. NO WORDS NEEDED!!! MMMMMM….. 😛

  6. I don’t think many ghetto thugs use over and under shotguns. unfortunately, wal-mart unknowingly hired a low info anti-gun borac supporter

  7. This incident shows why it would be important to ask for a manager’s opinion of the ‘store policy’ given by the associate. This would have been a huge ‘no story’ had these fine folks asked a store manager to explain the policy. And by the way to obtain identification information from the folks explaining the store policies to use when one contacts company management either by phone or by email.

    1. You are absolutely Wrong! The heading and story are appropriate. Wal-Mart IS to blame, as any employee dealing with the public is a representative of the company. This case is a distinct example of Wal-Mart mgt.’s failing to oversee their employees. To go further, notice the follow-up never mentioned that Wal-Mart mgt. issued an apology to the couple. Totally inexcusable!

  8. My daughter worked in the photo department at a local Walmart, and this is a tough job with little guidance by supervisors. Frequently, clients would try to get copyrighted images copied, as well as pornographic photographs- you name it, she saw it. My favorite quote during this period from her “It will take years of therapy to get those images out of my head”. For some reason, the photo print department at Walmart draws wacko’s like you wouldn’t believe. No, of course the pix noted above are not inappropriate, but let’s not make too much out of it– this is not an example of discrimination against the shooting sports. What it is–a poorly trained employee with poor supervision having to make a call in the midst of a hectic work schedule at a low paying job. Make the wrong call, and you get fired– safer to err on the side of being conservative. You would have to be pretty damned cheap to want printing done at WalMart in the first place, esp. for an engagement photo for heaven’s sake. You gonna buy a WalMart wedding cake, and then complain about that it isn’t elegant enough? WalMart is all about being cheap, but don’t expect cheap and good professional service.

  9. An excellent example of creating ‘news’ by exaggerating & twisting truth, which is exactly what media lowers itself to to get people to click on a link. Alas, I myself gave in and clicked it. This article has about as much merit as ‘news’ as does anything found in a Walmart tabloid. I just lost 10 minutes of my life I will not get back. I feel shame. I will now go eat my feelings.

  10. What the couple should have done, at the time, was to ask for the store manager to verify if the clerk’s actions, indeed, represented Wal-Mart’s policy. They would have straightened this out on-the-spot, and possibly saved others the inconvenience of having to go elsewhere.

  11. I know Mitch. I like and respect him. He was prudent to hire another company to print the photos and he was prudent to publicize the unseemly anti gun action by Wal Mart. However, if Wal Mart did not cave so quickly, Mitch should have taken to the airwaves and publicized Wal Mart’s actions unceasingly. Equating a loving couple carrying a safely opened shotgun with gang culture is morally obscene. Wal Mart should be excoriated if it adopted such a position

  12. Walmart sells guns. Someone who works there doesn’t know that? At least the store admitted it’s error so we don’t have to boycott them. Let’s hope the store also provided some training to the employee that was involved, or disciplined them if she or he was using personal bias on the job to further their own agenda.

  13. Last time I checked out local WalMart stores have a gun dept. selling long guns. Maybe that employee should wander around the store a couple of times.

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