Owners Jim and Terry Mulhall have been sponsoring AHS for as long as they can remember
ATASCADERO — Atascadero High School’s football field fence is full of banners from local businesses who donate money to AHS; in return, the school proudly sports the sponsor’s advertisement banner on the fence. The advertisement banners include different kinds of businesses, but one banner has raised concerns with a group of local parents.
The banner in question is from Rooster’s Firearms, a local gun store in Templeton. Owners Jim and Terry Mulhall have been sponsoring AHS for as long as they can remember.
“My wife and I have 10 children, and seven of them have gone through Atascadero High School,” said Jim Mulhall. “So with that number of children, we’ve been sponsors for a very long time and part of the boosters with Atascadero High School.”
Jim and Terry currently have senior twin boys on the varsity football team and a daughter who will be in high school next year, so their banner is more than just a sponsorship.
“We’re totally orange and grey. We’ve got assigned seating in the bleachers there [at AHS] during the home games, and we attend their different events. We attend all the football games, and we look forward to supporting them again next year,” added Mulhall. “We feel that we’re a family member with the high school and all the other parents that wear grey and orange to that school.”
Local community members concerned with the messaging of the banner have said that they think a banner advertising a gun store might not be appropriate on school grounds. There’s a thought that the banner could leave a wrong impression on students. At the same time, other parents say that seeing the banner is an educational moment to bring up guns and gun safety.
“Those people who are not gun-oriented, I understand. I understand that. I realize that,” Mulhall said. “I’ve talked to many people, and we all have our different ways about us. We certainly support those folks, too.”
AHS Principal Dan Andrus is standing by Rooster’s Firearm’s support. From a policy view, the business is not breaking any rules by having their banner up at the school.
“Since firearms are so strictly regulated, it’s not really an impact on the school itself,” Mulhall said. “And that’s why they’ve also allowed the Rooster’s T-shirts and sweatshirts. Because it’s a bonified business, selling a California legal product.”
Jim Mulhall’s relationship with Atascadero and AHS extends past his children attending the school, as he was employed as the Atascadero Police Chief for years.
“My heart is with the city of Atascadero and with the school district,” he said.
Mulhall interacted with the school district a lot when he was the police chief. He assigned an officer to help the school with any issues they had.
“I was very much in line with the school in my relationship with the police department and their relationship with the school district,” he added.
Rooster’s Firearms isn’t just a local gun store. The Mulhalls also super orientated towards gun safety and shooting sports. Which is why they support the local junior trap team, at the local range, with whatever is needed from Rooster’s.
The Mulhalls have also supported the Creston Rodeo and bought belt buckles for all the rodeo participants at the Mid-State Fair one year. They also support the local Chambers of Commerce.