The Florida gun shop owner who said his shop is a "Muslim-free zone" and teamed up with George Zimmerman to sell his Confederate flag art is back with another scheme: selling targets with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders' faces on them.
Andy Hallinan, the owner of Florida Gun Supply in Inverness, Fla., posted this video, calling for people to send footage of themselves "blowing up these targets in a unique way" for the chance to win a gun worth $500:
Hallinan said in a now-deleted Facebook post that he wasn't trying to incite violence but to make a point about the First Amendment. "This art is not to incite violence—but rather to inspire ALL of America to gain a better understanding of how strong our 1st amendment rights are—even if they are unpopular," he said in the post, according to several news reports.
These are the targets he's selling on a site he's set up, called Bernietargets.com:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that regardless of how Hallinan tries to justify them, the targets are clearly promoting violence against the president and presidential candidates.
"Andy violated federal law by conveying a threat against the President of the United States," CAIR-Florida spokesman Wilfredo Amr Ruiz told the Tampa Bay Times in a statement. "Promoting and selling a bulls-eye print of President Obama is not freedom of speech. Andy is inciting violence targeting the President."
The newspaper reported that Hallinan told them the F.B.I. had come to his shop to investigate—the agency couldn't confirm or deny to them whether that was true.
In the context of Hallinan's very public Islamophobia and his support for Zimmerman, the man who killed an unarmed black teenager, these targets are perhaps not surprising. But the combination of this racist, dehumanizing rhetoric and enthusiasm for weapons is jarring to say the least, even if Hallinan says he's really not trying to incite violence.
CAIR unsuccessfully sued Hallinan last year for his "Muslim-free zone" stunt, likening it to Jim Crowe-era segregationist policies in shops. Hallinan also made a "mini-documentary" last year with Zimmerman titled, Cultural Cleansing & Bias Media = Time for Change.