A Maine man has sparked outrage by posting a sign that says "Black Rifles Matter" on it on his private lawn. He says the slogan is a reference to gun rights, not race.
The sign's owner Linc Sample was inspired to paint his sign after a local newspaper ran an ad supporting an assault-style weapons ban. "That's really a trigger for me—the assault weapons ban," Linc told NECN. His sign reads, "Black Rifles Matter. Yes, we have 'em. No, you can't take 'em."
Despite the fact that he clearly repurposed Black Lives Matter to create Black Rifles Matter, Sample maintains race has nothing to do with his sign. "If anything," the licensed firearms dealer said, "they [Black Lives Matter] should be flattered I used the phrase...They're being targeted because of their appearance, fair enough—so is my rifle."
Samples argues the sign is about standing up for the Second Amendment. Black rifles or black guns, he says, are simply a type of semi-automatic weapon and shouldn't be banned.
Local businesses worry that the sign will deter tourists and send the wrong message about Boothbay Harbor, the town where the man lives. But Sample says he's not going to take the sign down. "There have been some people that have asked me to take the sign down and I don't respond to that very well," he said. "It's my property, it's my sign. There's been some talk that I have hurt tourism. I don't believe that for a minute."
But according to NECN, Boothbay Region Chamber of Commerce Director Rick Prose has received several complaints from visitors. Town Manager Thomas Woodin told NECN, "Some of these people have cut their vacation short and left early." But because Sample has the proper permits in place, there's not much the town can do about the sign.
Sample has reportedly displayed controversial signs on his property for years but this one has caused the most controversy. Black Rifles Matter has been trending on Twitter on Tuesday morning with people arguing both for and against Sample's right to display the sign.