Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, which is funded by New York City billionaire Mike Bloomberg, wants billboards taken down for depicting "assault rifles" as being as American as apple pie and baseball. The ad for Slide Fire, a firearms parts manufacturer in Texas, is up in several cities, including Chicago.
Nicole Chen, the head of the gun-control group's Illinois chapter, said she was "shocked" that the ad "removes 'mom' from the idiom 'as American as baseball, apple pie and mom,' and replaces it with an assault rifle."
Ms. Chen added that, "It's particularly upsetting that children in Chicago, a city that has struggled horribly with gun violence, are being exposed to such a harmful message."
The billboard says "Pure American" under three photos of a baseball glove, a pie and an AR-type rifle. The ad copy and design was done in-house by Slide Fire.
The manufacturer deliberately chose President Obama's hometown for one of its billboards because of the city's high crime rate and extremely restrictive gun-control laws.
"Chicago is the number one place in the country that shows gun laws don't work," Laura Shackelford, the chief executive manager of Slide Fire, told me in an interview Monday.
"We specifically put the ad up there to show that a firearm is normal Americana. We have to stop allowing a small group of anti-gun people dictate how we think about guns."
Lawrence Keane, general counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents firearms manufacturers, pointed out that, "The modern sporting rifle depicted is by definition not an 'assault rifle.' We wish anti-gun groups wouldn't purposely mislead the public when they exercise their right to free speak."
An "assault rifle" is a fully automatic weapon that shoots ammunition as long as the trigger is pulled. Anti-gun groups adopted the term to describe any rifle with certain ergonomic features.
Slide Fire manufacturers the Slide Stock, which is a replacement stock on a rifle that allows you to shoot faster. The slide lets the user "bump fire" from the shoulder, which means using the recoil of the firearm to pull the trigger faster.
The feature has been controversial because gun-control advocates such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrongly say that it converts a semi-automatic gun into an automatic one.
In fact, the gun owner must still pull the trigger each time to release one round and use a complicated physical technique to shoot faster. The ATF approved the feature for manufacture and sale.
However, Ms. Shackelford said the "Pure American" campaign is about promoting Second Amendment rights more than their product.
"We are all law-abiding citizens who are sick of being told that it's abnormal or scary to own a firearm," she said. "These gun-control groups are not making anyone safer, but just stoking irrational fears of the unknown."
She pointed out that, as far as symbols of America go, guns are older than either baseball or apple pies. Ms. Shackelford explained that, "Firearms are the reason we are American citizens today. And it's why the Constitution includes the Second Amendment."
And Mr. Bloomberg needs to understand that the First Amendment applies to all speech, not just his anti-gun agenda.
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of "Emily Gets Her Gun" (Regnery, 2013).
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