CHICAGO -- It's like a bike-sharing station, but with what appear to be AR-15 rifles.
No, the "gun-sharing station" in Daley Plaza is not actually real, it's more a symbolic piece of public art.
The exhibit, called the "Chicago Gun Share Program," holds a row of 10 replicas of AR-15 rifles. The exhibit is structured to make it look as though getting a weapon is as easy as renting a bike.
The protest art piece is an illustration of how easy it is for an ordinary citizen to obtain an assault weapon, and came about as a partnership between Chicago-based advertising agency The Escape Pod and gun safety organization the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
"Our hope is to raise awareness of this important issue. We're hoping the Chicago community can take advantage of this ... and learn how simple it is for a civilian to obtain a weapon of war," said Max Samis, Brady Center press secretary.
"Our goal here is to start a conversation on one of the more burning issues of our day, and in the process, raise much-needed funds for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence," said Vinny Warren, The Escape Pod executive creative director. "This issue is especially relevant to our home town of Chicago, which has suffered more than most from the plague of gun violence."
While visitors to the exhibit can't actually get a gun, they can make a donation to the Brady Center and learn more about the campaign's gun safety efforts. According to Samis, since the Parkland school shooting in Florida in February, the Brady Campaign has advocated for three policy changes:
-- Extending background checks for all gun sales.
-- Banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
-- Passing extreme-risk protection order laws that allow courts to prohibit someone from owning a gun if they pose a threat to themselves or others.
"We're grateful that this will raise awareness of this important issue and support our efforts to enact gun safety reforms," Samis said.
The exhibit opened Thursday. It was scheduled to be open to the public until Wednesday, but Samis said it will close Monday at 9 p.m. due to permitting issues.
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'Gun-sharing station' in Chicago uses art to make point about gun violence
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