Rifle maker apologizes for Mankato-themed gun

Photo: American Legacy Firearms

A custom rifle manufacturer has apparently decided to halt the sale of a Mankato, Minn.-themed rifle after complaints that it used a noose to depict the Dakota Conflict. Mankato was the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history when 38 Dakota men were hanged.

“We definitely listened to what everybody had to say,” Jean Van Oppen, the general manager of American Legacy Firearms, tells the Mankato Free Press. “Hindsight is 20/20. It probably wasn’t the best choice to put on the rifle. … Unfortunately we did not put our best foot forward there.”

“Yeah, the noose that was put on there, that definitely got some attention. We thought it was very forward of us to do that,” he said. “We did not mean to hurt anyone’s feelings or to be mean or rub it in or anything like that, it was just the historical aspect.”

The reaction to the company’s Facebook post of the availability of the $2,000 rifle was swift and unanimous, however.

“We’ve been trying for so many years to get past this tragedy,” one Mankato resident said. “I don’t believe anyone in our town is proud of what happened to those people! You really dropped the ball on this design guys. I hope you’re not planning anything for Oklahoma City or God forbid NYC.”