A Maine town’s tourism sector has come under fire after some visitors have been complaining about a large, hand-painted sign on a private lawn that reads “Black Rifles Matter.”
Linc Sample, the sign’s creator, told NECN on Monday that his work in Boothbay Harbor is about gun rights, not race. He was inspired to post the sign after reading an ad in the local paper that supported a ban on assault weapons.
A lawn sign in Maine reading, "Black Rifles Matter," is offending some tourists. https://t.co/Ao1i7cpgNn— necn (@NECN) September 12, 2016
"That's really a trigger for me — the assault weapons ban," Sample told NECN.
Sample said he used “Black Rifles Matter” – a plan on “Black Lives Matter” – to make an impact. He said if anything, the Black Lives Matter movement should be “flattered” he used the phrase.
Boothbay Region Chamber of Commerce Director Rick Prose said that they’ve received a few complaints from visitors.
"Some of these people have cut their vacation short and left early," Town Manager Thomas Woodin said.
Boothbay Harbor officials said Sample has the proper permitting and is exercising his First Amendment rights, despite some calling for the sign’s removal.
"People are ignorant. They shouldn't be putting things out like that," Paul Mayor, who was visiting Maine from Connecticut, told the station. "It's taking a shot obviously at Black Lives Matter."
Another tourist, Jeremy Plasse believes that the town is doing the right thing by leaving the sign up.
"Massachusetts has a ban right now, and I think they should lift it,” he added.
Sample said he usually changes the sign and will soon replace the Black Rifles Matter sign that has drawn some scrutiny.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.