The Jury Talks Back

8/1/2019

NC Gun Shop Under Fire For Billboard That Mocks “The Squad”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:32 am

[guest post by Dana]

This is the billboard that Cherokee Guns in Murphy, North Carolina paid to have put up, and for which they are now facing a barrage of complaints:

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The display was criticized Monday by the nonprofit group Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), which called it “disgusting anti-government violent rhetoric,” The Charlotte Observer first reported.

“Threats against members of Congress, particularly minority members are [rising] and it is driven by the president’s racial rhetoric,” CSGV wrote in a Facebook post. “This is dangerous!”

An employee of the store offered this explanation for the billboard:

Butch, a worker at the store who preferred not to give out his last name, said the store has since been flooded with calls from people who claim the billboard racist and others who are saying hateful things about the store and its workers.

“That’s not what this is about though,” Butch said.

“We’re putting facing the face of socialism out there so the American people can get a good look at it,” Butch added.

Butch said the gun shop’s billboard is not intended to pick on the congresswomen because of their gender or skin color.

“This whole thing is a stance against socialism,” Butch said. “Nothing else.”

Reportedly, employees have also been instructed on what to say when “threatening liberals” enter the shop:

“Show them the door, or your gun, and tell them they can buy their own billboard and pay for it like I did,” the staff member reportedly said.

Because the gun shop is in Rep. Mark Meadow’s district, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, one of the congresswomen depicted on the billboard, has called on Meadows to “do the right thing,” without stating exactly what it is she wants him to do:

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(Meadows most recently made the news when he denied that Trump is a racist after the president went after Rep. Elijah Cummings this past week.)

Rep. Rashida Tlaib also voiced her disapproval of the billboard:

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Offering clarification to Tlaib, Popehat explained First Amendment protections:

Representative Tlaib, speech is not “incitement” outside of First Amendment protection unless it is intended, and likely, to cause imminent lawless action. This is very unlikely to qualify. It may be vile, but it’s protected.

Words that encourage violence are protected unless they fall into an established First Amendment exception, like incitement, which requires words intended and likely to cause imminent lawless action. And “fighting words,” if it still exists, is limited to face-to-face words.

So far, I haven’t seen any responses from the other two congresswomen featured on the billboard.

Finally, the gun shop doesn’t appear to be backing down in the face of complaints but is instead putting the image on bumper stickers:

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–Dana

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