Santa Claus is coming to town and he’s armed on an I-77 billboard

He sees you when you’re sleeping, 

He knows when you’re awake. 

He knows if you’ve been bad or good,

So be good for goodness sake. 

Especially since he’s packing heat.

A billboard along I-77 near uptown features Jolly Old St. Nick with a big ol’ gun with the words “Santa knows what you really want.” The ad is for Blackstone Shooting Sports and, according to our friends in TV news, it’s “causing controversy” and “raising eyebrows,” and, according to our friends in radio, “over the top.”

Now let’s head over to the Twitters for some more reaction:

I’m terrified of guns, a fear that my mom instilled in me from a very young age. I wasn’t even allowed to have toy guns that looked remotely real. I’ve never fired a gun. I don’t like guns.

I’m also not easily offended, so it doesn’t bother me if a gun shop wants to put a gun-toting Santa onto a billboard. I don’t like it — and the timing was less than ideal — but I’m also pretty sure I’m not the target audience and the store doesn’t really care what I think.

“Santa Claus is synonymous with the holiday season,” the store manager, Guy Santiago, said in a statement to NBC Charlotte. “We thought the ad would be amusing and that our customers and potential customers would get a kick out of it.”

Happy Holidays.

In other headlines …

– Upset about the development that’s planned for the Common Market/Food Truck Friday lot? Your chance to say something about it comes at Monday’s Charlotte City Council meeting. Assuming it isn’t deferred, the rezoning plan is up for a hearing next week, and City Council would vote on the plan next month.

– Bulldog Beer and Wine officially opened its new South End location yesterday. I look forward to going back now that the beer and wine is flowing.

– New Mayor Jennifer Roberts has been busy in her first few days in office: First, she removed two council members from their committee leadership positions, then she apparently “pushed aside” two female aides after campaigning on gender equity.

– Mecklenburg County will offer active shooter training to its employees so that they are better prepared should gunfire erupt in a government building.

– Here’s a tip, college kids: Don’t take pictures of yourself wearing white with a pillowcase over your head. The Citadel is investigating a photo that surfaced on social media of seven cadets doing just that. “Preliminary reports are cadets were singing Christmas carols as part of a ‘Ghosts of Christmas Past’ skit,” the college’s president said. Oh, OK …

Photo: Jen Rothacker