Little League turns away sponsorship from Columbia gun shop owner over logo
COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WZTV) - A mid-state gun shop owner isn't backing down Thursday, after his company logo was shot down by his son's Little League team.
Gabe Wren, owner of Northside Gun Shop in Columbia, is a veteran who helps others who have served through his gun shop and other efforts.
“I have a 7- and a 4-year-old boy and girl and they both love sports, as I did growing up," Wren said. "They said they wanted to play baseball with the Lions Club in Spring Hill. So, we went down there and the opportunity came up for us to sponsor a team.”
Wren says he told the club what business he owned.
"Northside Gun Shop, and they said, ‘Thank you,’ and took the check and said I could sponsor a team," Wren said. "Then I was notified as of today that my logo, because it displays a gun, that it wasn't going to be appropriate and it may offend people."
Fox 17 confirmed the exchange with the Spring Hill Lions Club of Tennessee's Softball League on Thursday.
Sponsorship Coordinator Max Westmoreland didn't speak on camera but said he did come to the veteran's shop Thursday, saying the many young children in the league are the primary focus.
“He was very nice, and he basically told me the Lions Club in general in isn't against guns, in fact most of our members are pro-gun, but they're worried about offending someone or causing a problem with the parents making a mountain out of a mole hill," Wren said. "It's a gun on a shirt. That gun can't jump off a shirt to kill anybody. I spent 15 years of my life in the service. It's my logo, it's my business, it's what I am proud of.”
“We fought for these rights, so who better than a veteran to take a stand and continue fighting for our rights?" said Dale McCord, a fellow veteran and customer. "It doesn't always have to be on the battlefield with a weapon. This is another example of political correctness overreach.”
The club is requesting that Wren alter the logo without the gun silhouette.
“I am not going to deface my logo to put it on their jersey to fit some sort of breed of tolerance that they feel needs to happen," Wren said. "I'm going to let my children play because it's about the kids and the game and that's why I sponsored it in the first place.”
Another local team reached out in response, saying it would be proud to wear Wren's gun shop logo. The Northside Gun Shop owner said he plans to sponsor that team.