'Black Rifles Matter' Sign in Maine Town Sparks Outrage | NBC New York
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'Black Rifles Matter' Sign in Maine Town Sparks Outrage

Creator says the sign is about gun rights, not race

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    A large lawn sign that reads "Black Rifles Matter" is offending some tourists in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. (Published Monday, Sept. 12, 2016)

    A large lawn sign that reads "Black Rifles Matter" in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, has sparked outrage.

    The sign's creator, Linc Sample, said the sign is about gun rights, not race. Sample painted it and placed it on private property after an ad in the local paper supported an assault-style weapons ban.

    "That's really a trigger for me — the assault weapons ban," said Sample.

    He said he used the phrase "Black Rifles Matter," a play on the phrase "Black Lives Matter," to have impact. The BLM movement calls attention to police brutality in the U.S.

    "If anything, they should be flattered I used the phrase," said Sample.

    But some tourists have been upset by the sign.

    "We have received a few complaints from visitors to the region," said Boothbay Region Chamber of Commerce Director Rick Prose.

    "Some of these people have cut their vacation short and left early," said Town Manager Thomas Woodin.

    Town officials say Sample is exercising his First Amendment rights to free speech, and has all the proper permits for a sign of that size.

    "There isn't much the town can do about it," said Woodin.

    Tourists in Boothbay Harbor Monday said the sign is attention-grabbing, and polarizing.

    "People are ignorant. They shouldn't be putting things out like that," said Paul Mayor, visiting Maine from Connecticut. "It's taking a shot obviously at Black Lives Matter."

    "I think they're doing the right thing," said tourist Jeremy Plasse, who opposes a weapons ban. "Massachusetts has a ban right now, and I think they should lift it."

    Sample regularly changes the large sign on Townsend Avenue, and said a new one will soon replace the Black Rifles Matter sign.