LAS VEGAS, NV – A billboard located off Interstate 15 in Las Vegas – just miles from the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history – advertising an indoor automatic gun range was found vandalized early Thursday morning.
The billboard was promoting an offer for Battlefield Las Vegas, an indoor shooting range where customers can shoot automatic weapons, and read "SHOOT A .50 CALIBER ONLY $29." The billboard was vandalized to read "SHOOT A SCHOOL KID ONLY $29."
Indecline – an organization who, according to their website, is an "art collective founded in 2001 comprised of graffiti writers, filmmakers, photographers and full-time rebels and activists," – took credit for the vandalized billboard on Thursday.
"This protest piece is in response to America’s longstanding obsession with gun culture and our government’s inability to honor the victims of mass shootings by distancing themselves from the homicidal policies of the NRA," and Indecline spokesperson said. "INDECLINE calls on all political parties to immediately work towards a legislative resolution that aims to protect our citizens and reform the inadequate gun laws that are currently placing value on assault weapons over that of human life."
Calls to Battlefield Las Vegas referred comment to the email address of the company’s managers. A Patch email sent to the company on Thursday was not immediately returned.
The billboard was vandalized two weeks after 17 people were killed in a high school shooting in Parkland, FL and exactly five months to the day after 58 people were killed when a gunman opened fire into a country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Oct. 1.
The controversial message was met with mixed reactions on social media. Fox 5 News in Las Vegas called the vandalized billboard "SHOCKING," in a tweet and some viewed it as threatening.
In an email to Patch, Indecline referred to the group’s "long history of using provocative protest art and visuals," claiming their message wasn’t any more threatening than the original billboard.
"We’d like to draw the attention back to the original advertisement, as it sits in its multiple locations all over Las Vegas today: a massive assault rifle and the words "Battle Field Vegas" emblazoned across the canvas. These are in same valley that recently experienced the largest mass shooting in modern American history. The depiction of that assault rifle is not only a threatening visual, but it’s in poor taste. Additionally, we’d add that the events this particular piece drew its inspiration from (mass shootings), are far more disconcerting than two removable vinyl stickers. The subtext on the billboard "Defend Lives / Reform Laws" should have also thoroughly extinguished these claims," an Indecline spokesperson said in an email to Patch.
Indecline’s website contains a video showing other vandalized billboards. That video has been embedded into this news article.
Vandalism of less than $250 in damage is considered a misdemeanor in Nevada and carries a penalty of up to six months in jail. Vandalism resulting in damage between $250 and $4,999 is considered a gross misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail. Vandalism resulting in damage of $5,000 or more is a Category E felony in Nevada, and carries a maximum penalty of 1-4 year in state prison. According to Nevada Revised Statues 190.130, people found guilty of a Category E can receive probation from court, but spend 10 days in county prison.
An inquiry seeking comment from Las Vegas Metropolitan Police was not immediately returned. This article will be updated if Patch receives comment from Battlefield Las Vegas or LVMPD.
SHOCKING: Self-proclaimed activist group ‘INDECLINE’ vandalized a gun range billboard near the #LasVegas Strip overnight in protest of American gun policies. They are the same group responsible for the naked President Trump statues Video here >https://t.co/AVFCvYRoAz pic.twitter.com/ecFtxWk4fl— FOX5 Las Vegas (@FOX5Vegas) March 1, 2018