This 'Gun Share' Station In Chicago Is Getting A Lot Of Attention

You may mistake it for a bike-sharing station.

It's a jarring scene in one of Chicago's busiest intersections: a rack of AR-15 military rifles for "rent," just like popular bike-sharing programs in cities across the country.

Most Americans would probably be relieved that the gun station is actually an art installation, but it comes with an important purpose. The gun share stations were set up by Escape Pod, a Chicago-based ad agency, along with the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, to showcase how easy it is for some Americans to get guns.

"The program was developed in response to the lack of federal gun regulations and conflicting state laws that would help protect American citizens from unnecessary gun violence," representatives from the Brady Center told Adweek

The Escape Pod
The Escape Pod

The art installation has caused some buzz on social media, and it does more than just harp on access to guns and the amount of gun violence in the United States. In fact, one of the ride-sharing signs specifically calls out Illinois' neighboring states.

"Why does Chicago have so many gun deaths when Illinois has so some of the country's toughest gun control laws?" the sign reads. "Our neighboring state of Indiana has some of laxest gun control laws."

As the installation grabs the attention of Chicagoans, a gun control bill is currently working its way through the state legislature in Illinois. One gun control proposal is calling for a 72 hour waiting period before someone can buy a semi-automatic rifle. Gov. Bruce Rauner rewrote the bill Monday and added provisions that reinstated the death penalty for mass killers and anyone convicted of killing a law enforcement officer, The Chicago Tribune reported

"People have strong opinions on the subject of gun violence, but conversation, and ultimately action, tend to fall off after the immediacy of tragic events fades," Celia Jones, CEO of The Escape Pod, told Adweek. "Creating a physical installation brings the issue to the forefront in a way that online articles and other passive media cannot, and being able to use our creativity to raise funds for the Brady Center is the most important part."

The Escape Pod
The Escape Pod

At the exhibit, which closely resembles the Divvy bike-sharing program in Chicago, there is a screen that allows people to donate to the Brady Center, which is lobbying for more background checks, among other policy initiatives. Nicholas Berg, whose company Ojo Customs was commissioned to create the exhibit, said it was made to be "baseball bat proof," in case there were protesters who wanted to damage the exhibit. 

"I saw an opportunity to take advantage of having that conversation without tragedy being tied to it," Berg told The Chicago Tribune.

Cover image via The Escape Pod

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