A homemade sign is causing controversy in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
The hand-painted sign, which is displayed on a private lawn, features a drawing of an automatic rifle and the slogan “Black Rifles Matter,” reports Fox News.
The obvious pun on “Black Lives Matter” has led to complaints from some tourists, said Boothbay Region Chamber of Commerce Director Rick Prose. "Some of these people have cut their vacation short and left early," Town Manager Thomas Woodin added.
Paul Mayor, one such tourist, said: "People are ignorant. They shouldn't be putting things out like that. It's taking a shot obviously at Black Lives Matter."
The sign’s creator, Linc Sample, said the sign is about gun rights and not about race, reports NECN. He says that an ad in the local paper that supported a ban on assault weapons is what provided his propagandistic inspiration. The Black Lives Matter movement should be “flattered” by his pun, he argued, though he did not explain why.
Boothbay Harbor officials said Sample has the proper permitting and is merely exercising his First Amendment rights.
Sample’s slogan “Black Rifles Matter” also brings to mind “All Lives Matter,” which has been offered as an alternative. The competition between the two slogans generated enough debate that President Barack Obama weighed in with the following comment:
I think the reason that the organizers used the phrase ‘black lives matter’ was not because they were suggesting nobody else’s lives matter. ... What they were suggesting was, there is a specific problem that is happening in the African-American community that’s not happening in other communities. And that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.