The Associated Press

Report: Boston Gun Control Billboard Coming Down

BOSTON — The giant anti-gun billboard seen by tens of thousands of drivers along the Massachusetts Turnpike every day for nearly two decades is coming down.

The 250-foot-long billboard on a parking garage near Fenway Park has for 19 years displayed gun control messages. It currently promotes a federal assault weapons ban, and has an electronic counter displaying the number of Americans killed by guns since the December 2012 Connecticut school massacre – more than 45,000. Along the bottom of the billboard are 20 handprints representing the number of children killed in that mass shooting.

Real estate developer John Rosenthal, co-founder of the nonprofit group Stop Handgun Violence, put up the billboard in 1995 on the garage he owned.

“This has been the proudest accomplishment of my life,” he told The Boston Globe.

But he sold the garage to the parent company of the Boston Red Sox and under the agreement must remove the billboard by March.

Rosenthal hopes to find a new home for the billboard in an equally visible place. It is currently passed by about 150,000 vehicles per weekday.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll find a property owner who shares our concern about gun violence,” Rosenthal said. “We cannot afford to pay a high rent, and the billboard will just cease to exist if that’s the only option.”

Mayor Martin Walsh said he will support a new home in the city for the billboard, which he called “an eye-opening reminder of the tragedy of the crimes being perpetrated with guns across our nation.”

A spokeswoman for Fenway Sports Group would not comment on the possibility of an extension for the billboard.

The billboard has drawn the ire of gun rights advocates.

“It’s a waste of time and money on a billboard that hasn’t solved any problems,” said Jim Wallace, executive director of the Gun Owners’ Action League, the Massachusetts affiliate of the National Rifle Association.

He hopes it finds a new home.

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  • Thinkfreeer

    The mayor is wrong. It has little to do with crime. But he is a victim of the misleading message on the billboard. The billboard has a counter followed by the words “Americans killed since the massacre at Sandy Hook.” They were not killed as the result of crime. Why would anyone assume that? Most of the deaths were suicide by firearm. Some were accidental. Some were justifiable homicides by law enforcement or self defense. The number is not an actual count, but an estimate of 28 per day based on the CDC number of a little over 30,000 firearm related deaths annually between 2010 and 2012. So the billboard is intentionally misleading people, as evidenced by the mayor’s comment. Think about the last time you witnessed gun violence. Oh, never? The CDC also estimates 275 defensive gun uses per day. Only a small percentage of these lead to death. But 10 times as many people are saved by firearms than die by them every day. (Note: no references were given in the article – you can find the actual information on the Internet) Most people only see guns on the hips of police officers, which is a really good place for them.

    • Josh/HW

      the point of the billboard is to show death by guns, whether that be defensive or not. If you are making the argument that nobody sees gun violence, then you are making a point that nobody needs a gun.

      • Thinkfreeer

        Obviously I disagree. The point of the billboard is to mislead people into thinking that we have to do something about gun deaths by banning guns. The mayor actually thinks it’s all due to crime with guns. And it’s not. Nobody needs a gun until a critical moment when your life is being threatened (those 275 people per day). But fortunately the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution and such misleading advertisements will not have the desired effect. Want to ban guns? Get an amendment voted though and then ratified by 2/3 of the states.

        My point about not seeing it is that is rarer than news coverage would have you believe.

      • fun bobby

        its misleading to conflate suicides and murders don’t you think?
        its also misleading to use a made up number and not the actual number right? your strawman was inaccurate. why is that a theme with you all? perhaps because the truth would not lead to the same conclusions?

  • coffeeHouse1982

    It’s important to remember the source of the 2nd Amendment – George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, from 1776. Right 13:That a well-regulated [well-disciplined] militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided, as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and be governed by, the civil power.

  • fun bobby

    good that was some tiresome propaganda and I am sure turned quite a few people off.

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