US & Canada

Activists mock US gun culture with Chicago 'gun-sharing' dock

girl at the exhibit Image copyright The Escape Pod/ Brady Center
Image caption The guns are replicas of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle

A Chicago public art installation is raising eyebrows in its protest of American gun culture.

The display, Chicago Gun Share Program, depicts an urban bike-sharing station, but instead pretends to offer people the opportunity to rent a rifle.

A sign invites anyone to "unlock and load" a replica high-powered, semi-automatic rifle known as an AR-15.

Activists say they want to raise awareness on how easy it is to "obtain a weapon of war".

The installation in downtown Chicago's Daley Plaza was commissioned by the Brady Center, a gun control advocacy group.

Image copyright The Escape Pod/ Brady Center

"We hope the Chicago community takes advantage of the opportunity to visit this installation and to learn just how simple it is for an everyday civilian to obtain a weapon of war," Kris Brown and Avery Gardiner, co-presidents of the Brady Center told US media.

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Media captionLife and death on the lost streets of Chicago

The structure, which was erected by Chicago advertising agency The Escape Pod, displays 10 fake AR-15 rifles.

The legally-available weapon has been used in a string of recent mass shooting attacks, including one at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead in February.

Image copyright The Escape Pod/ Brady Center

Part of the installation includes a sign featuring statistics, including data showing that many of Chicago's gun crimes were committed with weapons that were brought from neighbouring states such as Indiana.

"When you rent a bike it's easy. It's easy to just rent a gun and it's easy to kill a person with it," tourist Omar Bahey Eldin, 12, told NBC Chicago after viewing the exhibit.

Illinois Congressman Mike Quigley, posted a photo of himself visiting the exhibit on Monday, writing "getting a gun shouldn't be as easy as renting a bike - but in many cases, it is".

Image copyright The Escape Pod/ Brady Center

The Brady Center advocates for banning AR-15 rifles, stricter background checks for all gun sales and the ability for a court to prohibit gun ownership from people who may pose a threat to themselves or others.

The exhibit will be open to the public until 16 May.

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