Store nixes engagement photo with shotgun

Stephanie Wehner and Mitch Stobl were puzzled after they were told that an engagement photo of them posing with a shotgun couldn't be printed.

WFAA-TV employee Stephanie Wehner knew exactly what she wanted to do with engagement photos she took with her fiancé Mitch Strobl.

"It depicts our love for each other, and I wanted to be able to display those at the reception," Wehner said.

With their wedding scheduled for this weekend, she had to just tie up some loose ends — like printing out those photos. She ordered printouts online at Walmart.

Wehner submitted 13 photos with varying poses, lighting, and background.

"She came with the idea to take a creative picture where we include something that is important to us," Strobl said.

One of the 13 photographs submitted included Mitch's 12 gauge Ruger Red Label Shotgun. He said it was the first gun that he had purchased himself, calling it his "go-to" gun for outdoor sport.

When Wehner arrived at the Walmart at Central Expressway and Midpark Road to pick up the prints, she was told the photo with the firearm would not be released.

"She was very nice, but very matter-of-fact, like she was not going to budge or give me my photo," Wehner said.

She even recieved a slip from the clerk that read: "MINUS ONE 5 X 7. NO WEAPONS."

The clerk at the Walmart told Wehner it was the store's "policy." Wehner was told she can't print pictures of guns.

But it's the explanation that caught the couple off-guard. Wehner told News 8 that the clerk said the photo couldn't be released because the weapon would promote a "gang culture."

"To automatically to be lumped into that category of a gang... that hits a little close to home for us, because that isn't our intent at all," Strobl said.

Especially when you consider what he does for a living: Creating manuals for hunter safety and outdoor recreation.

"I did that in this picture; I made sure the action was open... that is was a safe photograph," he said.

A Walmart representative later told News 8 the chain has no policy against printing out pictures with firearms.

"We had a new associate who was misinformed. Her actions are not consistent with our policy," the spokesperson said. Walmart also told us that it has reiterated policies with its employees at this store.

Wehner and Strobl see this more as an attack on their First Amendment right to express themselves through photography.

What the couple didn't want to turn this into was a debate about the Second Amendment.

Wehner and Strobl hope to quickly remedy the problem and find another place to print the photo. For Wehner — who likes to check things off her wedding to-do list — this was a just a minor hurdle. She does say, however, it's a story that she can tell for years to come.


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