An Omaha, Nebraska shooting range venue that bills itself as a “unique, family-friendly entertainment experience” has announced plans to open in the Twin Cities, prompting critics to rehash allegations that the company uses white supremacist and Nazi symbols and imagery.
“The future 88 Tactical locations will be over 100,000 square feet,” the announcement shares, adding the facilities will also feature a state-of-the-art fitness center, full bar and restaurant, drop-in childcare, virtual reality simulators, an outdoor entertainment area and more.
The company offers training for civilians, law enforcement and military personnel and advertises a “family-centric community” that combines learning lifesaving skills with a unique entertainment experience
But, the company continues to face allegations regarding some of its branding.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, 88 is one of the most common white supremacist symbols, meant to be a numerical code for “Heil Hitler.”
However, in a blog post titled “THE TRUTH BEHIND OUR NAME”, 88 Tactical says the company’s founder, Shea Degan, named the business after “Signal 88” — a radio code used by Nebraska police that means the “situation is safe and secure.”
“If you’re wondering why the state of Nebraska chose the number 88 for this code, you’ll have to ask them,” the post reads.
Besides the name itself, 88 Tactical has also been accused of displaying hateful numerology on a topographical wallpaper, which showed an elevation of 1488 feet.
“Frequently linked to white supremacy, the numerical combination ‘1488’ combines code for ‘Heil Hitler’ and the 14 Words, a white nationalist saying that extremist David Lane coined,” the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote about the wallpaper. “The 14 Words refers to securing a future for white children.”
In response, Tactical 88 said the wallpaper was purchased as a stock design and meant to compliment the facility’s military memorabilia decor.
“Appalled and embarrassed by such accusations, the wall wrap was removed and replaced immediately,” the company wrote.
“We always have, and always will, completely denounce white supremacy,” Tactical 88 further stated on Twitter in regards to the incident.
Several other accusations have been made against 88 Tactical’s branding, which the company says amount to “vicious defamatory attacks” fueled by “blatant lies and slander.”
Earlier this year, the city of Omaha scrapped a plan to swap police gear with 88 Tactical amid pushback from Nebraskans Against Gun Violence.
It’s not yet clear where the company is looking to open in the Twin Cities.