Groupon Hits Pause Button on Gun-Related Deals

Company Re-Evaluating Deals for Gun Sales and Shooting Ranges

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Groupon is ducking for cover, canceling gun deals until it sees how the post-Sandy Hook environment shakes out, according to Crain's Chicago Business.

"All scheduled and current gun-related deals featured on Groupon North America, including shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting, have been placed on hiatus while we review internal standards that shape the deal inventory we feature," the company said in a statement Saturday. "The category is under review following recent consumer and merchant feedback."

In a story reported late Friday by Fox7-TV in Austin,Texas, Groupon pulled the gun-related deals after President Barack Obama's speech about gun control earlier in the week. An Austin gun shop owner had been running a Groupon for a discount on concealed-weapons classes.

The owner of Central Texas Gun Works, Michael Cargill, told Fox7-TV that after the speech, "the deal just went crazy and it looked like we were gonna max out." Groupon first called to ask if they could raise the ceiling on the number of people who could purchase the deal. Mr. Cargill agreed, but later Groupon canceled the deal without notice.

Groupon has run similar deals in such states as Utah, Virginia and North Carolina. Even before the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last month, Groupon was catching flak for gun deals.

The move comes as Groupon is searching for a creative agency to boost its image, and its stock price. The deals service told Ad Age last fall it planned to launch a new brand campaign in the first quarter of 2013.

This story was originally published at Crain's Chicago Business.

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