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US Congresswoman slams gun shop billboard for 'inciting violence'

The billboard targeting four democratic congresswomen. Source: Facebook

A gun shop billboard mocking four female congresswomen has stirred up controversy and been slammed by critics for encouraging violence.

A US Democratic congresswoman has hit back at a gun shop billboard depicting her and three other left-wing politicians of colour as "the four horsemen".

The four Democratic congresswomen featured in the advertisement - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley - were originally targeted by US President Donald Trump, who told them to go back where they came from in a tweet earlier this month that was later condemned by the House of Representatives as "racist"

The Cherokee Guns billboard, located in North Carolina, features images of the four women under the caption "The 4 Horsemen Cometh", with the final word crossed out and replaced with "are idiots". 

Underneath, the ad reads "signed, the Deplorables" - a reference to Hillary Clinton's use of the word during the 2016 Presidential campaign to describe Trump supporters.

In response to the billboard, Ms Tlaib took to Twitter on Friday denouncing it as "inciting violence" while Ms Pressley blamed the US President for making "hate our new normal".

According to local media, a man identifying himself as the owner of the business defended the billboard, stating it was not racist and did not incite violence before making a racist comment about Muslims.

"It's a statement. It's an opinion," he reportedly told the Asheville Citizen-Times.

"They’re socialists, from my point of view. I also feel a couple of them, being Muslim, have ties to actual terrorist groups.”

Of the four women depicted in the billboard, only one - Ms Omar - was born outside the US. 

Two days after posting the original picture of the billboard on their Facebook, Cherokee Guns announced that they would now be selling bumper stickers with the same design due to "overwhelming demand".

An earlier billboard posted by Cherokee Guns.
An earlier billboard posted by Cherokee Guns.

"You may come by the shop (next week) and get your very own FOUR HORSEMEN COMETH STICKER ... simple ... eat a piece of bacon ... tell us you're voting for Trump in 2020...then get your limited edition bumper sticker," the post read.

"Snowflakes and Liberals are not eligible ... sorry."

The business has a long history of provocative billboards, particularly targeting the Muslim community and Liberal voters.

In another image of a billboard posted to the businesses' Facebook page in June, the phrase "infidel armament" appears above a line of Arabic script and a machine gun.

A alleged billboard image posted by Cherokee Guns
A alleged billboard image posted by Cherokee Guns.

Another, posted in January, shows a photoshopped image of Mr Trump holding two machine guns alongside the text: "I lubricate my guns with Liberal tears".

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence posted a statement in response to the image, describing the billboard as "disgusting, anti-government violent rhetoric".

"Threats against members of Congress, particularly minority members are [rising] and it is driven by the president’s racial rhetoric. This is dangerous," they said.

The Muslim Advocates organisation, a national civil rights group, has launched an open letter describing how the congresswomen have already "received multiple assassination threats and attempts inspired by similar rhetoric and attacks".

"The gun store and billboard company targeting four congresswomen are putting their lives in immediate danger. This is not a joke or a benign, political attack. This is a threat," it read.

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