The Ontario-based group London Elgin Middlesex Crime Stoppers (LEMCS) recently began a campaign aimed at getting guns out of the hands of criminals. It was a noble goal executed in perhaps the worst way possible, as billboards featuring a photo of firearms and ammunition proclaiming “GUNS ARE THE PROBLEM”—mentioning nothing about illegally owned firearms—appeared around the city.
Canada’s gun owners were incensed, and took to Facebook en masse to express their frustration. Then, on Sept. 9, the 100,000-plus member Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters issued a statement calling the campaign a “fear-mongering type of propaganda.”
“The message paints everyone in possession of a firearm with the same brush, and that is … unfair to the 2.2 million legal and law-abiding firearms owners in this country who … participate in activities like hunting and target shooting,” it read.
To its credit, the group admitted its error. In a statement released Thursday, LEMCS said while the intent was to encourage anonymous reporting of illegal firearms, “the comments mounted to a point that we believed the original intent was lost, the negative impact far-reaching, and the decision to remove the billboards was made. We instructed the company to cover them as early as possible.”