CHICAGO (WLS) – A billboard showing what appears to be an assault weapon has started some controversy in Chicago.
A local clergyman says it makes Chicago seem gun-friendly and that’s not how he wants to define the city.
It’s hard to miss. Just east of the central exit off of I-55 as you drive into the city is a billboard that some want taken down.
With an American flag, Christianity symbol, and the statue of liberty on the bottom, the sign is called Pure American, with photos of a baseball glove, apple pie, and an assault-type rifle.
“I think there is this great move by manufactures and I think the NRA and others to make guns part of America’s wardrobe. This is not what we want to define America by,” said Reverand Michael Pfleger.
Rev. Pfleger is calling on the owner of the billboard, lamar advertising, to remove it.
Pfleger says the placement of the sign not far from the west side of Chicago reinforces the stereotype that Chicago is a violent city.
“They have a choice to say we do or do not want this kind of advertisement on our billboards, and so we’re hoping the public opinions will let them know this isn’t what they should be taking money for,” said Pflager
We were unable to reach Lamar Advertising.
Slide Fire, the Texas-based firearms parts manufacturer that bought the ad, says it deliberately chose President Barack Obama’s hometown because of the city’s crime rate and restrictive gun laws.
Slide Fire makes something called a slide stock.
Gun dealer Louie Asanon sells the part.
“It allows your gun to be a rapid-fire — almost per say to like a machine gun but doing it legally. Illinois doesn’t allow machine guns,” said Asanon.
Asanon says the placement of the billboard will reach millions of Illinois gun owners, and while father Pfleger and others are offended, Asanon says there are plenty of other offensive billboards out there.
“You see billboards with alcohol all over the place. They’re just as deadly as guns are in the wrong hands,” said Asanon.