MERRIMACK, NH (CBS) – One of the posters in the front window of a New Hampshire gun shop depicts President Obama as “Firearms Salesman of the Year.” Below the president are two AK-47 rifles.
A second poster featuring the images of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong accompanies a statement that reads, “All Experts Agree, Gun Control Works.”READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports
The signs are in the front window of Collectable Arms & Ammo in Merrimack. Store Co-owner Keith Cox makes no apologies for the storefront that has irritated some neighbors.
“We like to have the creative storefronts which are sort of fun in one aspect and in another aspect if we have an opportunity to make a statement we’ll do that as well,” said Cox.
Cox says he is sending two separate messages and is not connecting Obama to the dictators.
He says Obama’s picture is meant to thank him for sending gun sales surging with all the talk in Washington about gun control.
As for the images of the three dictators, Cox says his message is that people armed with guns are better able to protect themselves against tyranny.
Chuck Mower, who lives down the street from the shop, says he understands free speech, but says the message is over the top and unnecessary.READ MORE: Mass. To Receive Significantly Less Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Doses Next Week
“I can’t even imagine any president’s picture being portrayed on the front of a business with crossed assault weapons underneath it,” Mower said. “When those kinds of things appear and take the public presence…they paint us more as a gooberville in Arkansas.”
Mower, a longtime Merrimack resident, has filed a complaint with the city.
“It’s not a good community standard message and it doesn’t add to solving any of the complicated issues,” he said.
Outside the store on Friday, there was curiosity about the controversy.
“If people want to show it then so be it, it’s their freedom of rights,” said one Merrimack resident.
“One thing great about this country is you can agree to disagree, but to take these extremes I think it’s shameful and I’m sad to say it’s the town I live in,” said another resident.
Regardless of the controversy, the signage is not coming down.
“I certainly would not ask them to change a flag hanging on their homes or a sign in their yards because I am offended by it or disagree with it,” said Cox. “I will support anybody’s freedom of speech.”MORE NEWS: Dorchester Grandmother Killed In Shooting While Sitting On Her Front Porch
Town officials in Merrimack tell WBZ-TV the storefront is not breaking any town ordinances.