Photo of purported Walmart gun display roils social media

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Walmart has apologised for a "totally unacceptable" sign in one of their stores that appeared to advertise guns as a back-to-school item.

'Own the school year like a hero, ' the display sign reads.

The photo showed a glass gun case in a Walmart store with a sign on top reading, "Own the school year like a hero", the store's back-to-school slogan.

According to The New York Times, images of the display began circulating on social media before Walmart addressed the situation.

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Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson told USA TODAY the company is "certain" the incident was a ruse, but offered no other details.

The company also added that it's investigating how it could have happened in the first place.

He acknowledged only that the photo wasn't taken at a store in Evansville, Indiana, as had been originally suggested. Earlier Walmart said it had identified the location and had removed the sign. 'This was disgusting and we removed the sign as soon as we found out'. "... People don't seem to honestly care".

Though the tweet from @OMGItsBirdman was the one that got the most traction on Twitter (as of this writing, it has about 27,000 retweets and 52,000 likes), Walmart told the Washington Post it's still trying to find who posted the original photo.

Walmart were previously criticised for staking crates of Coca-Cola Zero to resemble the World Trade Centre as part of a campaign to commemorate 9/11.

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