ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) — A controversial billboard targeting the National Rifle Association (NRA) is drawing fierce criticism and some praise from locals. The billboard accuses the NRA of being a “terrorist’s organization”.
The billboard that sits off W Street in Escambia County has already caught the eye of many people and what it says has drivers doing a double take to read it.
“I’m offended by it and I think it’s just ignorance,” said Rick Bankston.
“I agree with that billboard, yeah,” said Amanda Hutchinson.
The message on the billboard comes weeks after a former student killed 17 people with a military style weapon at Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.
Amanda Hutchinson has been a gun owner her whole adult life. She wasn’t surprised to see it. She feels there needs to be stricter policies and regulations for military weapons.
“I’m an Army brat, nobody needs a military weapon, nobody. If you’re hunting with a military weapon you’re not a hunter,” Hutchinson explained.
Rick Bankston feels different about it.
“An NRA person could be the one that saves your life one day,” said Bankston.
Bankston has owned Buck and Bass in Pensacola for more than 30 years. He said the message is distasteful.
“I’m in the NRA, most of the people in here are NRA members, we go to church, we got families, we’re not terrorists,” mentioned Bankston.
WEAR called Claude Taylor, the man responsible for the billboard, Friday afternoon.
Taylor told Channel 3 News the billboard is the first to be put up targeting the NRA and one of 30 being placed in areas across the country.
Now, what towers above the road is further fueling debate over our country’s gun laws.
Barney McCasland is a member of the NRA. McCasland said the sign is insensitive to a part of history this nation was founded on today.
“The First Amendment or any other of the Bill of Rights amendments would be worthless without the Second Amendment. I would be happy to put up another billboard next to it that says the NRA is a patriotic organization of millions of Americans who believe in the Second Amendment,” McCasland said.
Taylor said the message on the billboard is clear.
He said something needs to be done to keep military-grade weapons out of the hands of killers.
Claude Taylor’s group is the same group responsible for a billboard that targeted Congressman Matt Gaetz in January.