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Gun shop to take down billboard featuring minority congresswomen

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks as Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the US Capitol on July 15
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

A gun shop's billboard in North Carolina labeling 4 progressive minority congresswomen "4 horsemen" and "idiots" is being taken down following backlash over the ad, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence notes in a Facebook post that threats against lawmakers, in particular minority Congress members, are increasing. Muslim Advocates tweeted that there are already multiple, credible assassination threats and attempts on the congresswomen targeted in the ad: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Ohio).

What they're saying: Pressley tweeted at Republican North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows to urge him to act over the billboard:

"Racist rhetoric from the occupant of the White House has made hate our new normal. We are still vulnerable. Rep. Mark Meadows — Cherokee Guns is in your district & you and I serve on a committee together. Here’s your chance to finally do the right thing."
  • Omar said in April she has received an increase in death threats since President Trump tweeted a video edited without context of her remarks on the 9/11 attacks.
  • Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have said previously that with every critique they receive, death threats spike.

Context: The billboard appeared as the 4 freshman congresswomen have faced repeated attacks from Trump in recent weeks. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence blames Trump's "racial rhetoric" for increasing threats on the congresswomen.

The big picture: An employee at the gun shop, Cherokee Guns, told Fox Carolina the store had been "flooded with calls from people who claim the billboard racist," but "that's not what this is about," insisting it's about socialism. However, a Facebook post from the store claims 2 of the women have "terrorist ties."

  • WTVC notes the ad agency's, Allison Outdoor Advertising, post included the now-deleted statement, "This Creative never came on managements desk for approval. We understand this is a delicate subject and we greatly apologize for it ever going up."

The bottom line: Its owner told WTVC that the billboard had brought him more business and he's now selling a bumper sticker version of the ad.