Kennedy Memorial depicted on commemorative rifle




Posted on July 15, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 15 at 10:52 PM

Do you think including the JFK Memorial on a rifle stock is inappropriate?

Phil Bielamowicz religiously reads The Dallas Morning News. He was more than surprised (and less than happy) to see one of the ads inserted in Monday's edition.

It was American Legacy Firearms' color flier advertising the limited edition "Dallas Heritage Rifle." The Kennedy Memorial is prominently displayed on the rifle.

Lee Harvey Oswald used a rifle to assassinate President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963.

"It's just that it's on there, and the president was killed with that," Bielamowicz said.

The Dallas Heritage Rifle is also engraved with a depiction of the State Fair, Dallas founder John Neely Bryan, a football helmet, cotton pickers, and an armadillo, among many other things. Those items don't bother Bielamowicz, and neither does the gun itself, he says.

But the Kennedy Memorial does.

He said it was just his opinion, and there were no facts to back him up; he just knew when he saw it, it felt wrong.

"It's just insensitive," Bielamowicz said.

The president of American Legacy Firearms defended the memorial's inclusion in a phone interview from his Colorado office.

"I do things that are historically... things that happened... and they're not always good," he said

Faler added he has produced commemorative guns for more than 130 cities across the country. He said he even sold one after 9/11 featuring a bald eagle, the Pentagon, and the still-standing twin towers.

Faler said he then donated almost $500,000 to victims' families.

He defends the Kennedy Memorial's inclusion on the Dallas rifle, calling the assassination one of the most significant events in the city's history.

He said his company has had only a bit of controversy in its almost 10 year existence. They did similar ads for their Denver rifle, purchasing the space many weeks in advance. But it just so happened to appear in papers within days of the deadly theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.

"You know, you think of significant things that have happened in Dallas, other than the Dallas Cowboys. [The Kennedy assassination] is one of the most significant things I would ever remember," Faler said. "If I hurt someone's feelings, I'm sorry, but I'm not gonna worry about it. It's something that happened 50 years ago."

Bielamowicz knows it's been a half-century since that infamous day. Like most Dallas natives of a certain age, he'll never forget it; he was in the 8th grade.

And he feels a reminder on a rifle isn't respectful... or right.