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article imageThe man with the gun tattoo

By Martin Laine     Mar 23, 2014 in Odd News
Call it whimsy or nostalgia when a Maine man decided to have a replica of a 9mm handgun he once owned tattooed onto his stomach. The life-sized image is so realistic it looks as though he has the weapon tucked into his waistband.
Which is exactly what happened Tuesday morning when Michael Smith, 40, of Norridgewok, Maine, a night-shift worker, was woken up by workers trimming trees along a power line on his property. He opened his front door, shirtless, and asked them to leave.
Seeing what they thought was a gun in the waist band of his pants, the workers felt threatened and called police. Before long a police officer was using a megaphone to ask Smith to come out while other officers trained their assault rifles at the house.
Smith complied and it was quickly established that Smith hadn't threatened anyone. Police later called it a “misunderstanding.”
“I don’t know what the big deal is,” Smith said in an article in the Portland Press Herald. Smith explained he owns several guns and enjoys shooting, but he didn’t intend the tattoo to be any kind of political statement.
“I’m not someone with views about guns that I want to rattle off,” Smith said.
However, ever since his story began circulating it has been generating reactions from free-speech and gun rights advocates. Smith and others say the tree-trimming crew over-reacted.
"Of course everyone overreacted,” Smith said. “People shouldn’t be scared over a tattoo, or even a real gun. I was on my own property and never even left the threshold of my home. I have the right to have a gun, even without a permit, as long as I’m not threatening people.”
“I think there is a certain percentage of the population that has an unwarranted fear of guns, almost to the point of a phobia,” said Leslie Ohmart, president of the Pine Tree Rifle and Pistol Association.
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