WASHINGTON — The fun-loving folks who brought you "Zombie Obama" are taking wider aim with their latest shooting target — "Gun Control Lobbyist."
Advocates of tougher gun laws, including gun violence victims and their families, are depicted as shooting targets — and zombies — in the bizarre new product its maker calls "funny."
A Connecticut senator meanwhile says point blank that the target is "incredibly offensive."
Zombie Industries, of Poway Calif., makes shooting targets intended to resemble zombies that emit fake blood when shot. The small company, previously denounced for marketing "Zombie Obama," recently began selling "Gun Control Lobbyist."
"This guy spent his days milling around Washington, D.C., distorting the truth about guns & violent crimes," the firm’s website says, calling the lobbyist a "real scumbag with no appreciation for the US Constitution or respect for an individual's freedom!"
The site says the lobbyist, due to his opposition to guns, cannot defend himself against zombies: "The result was an Undead Gun Control Lobbyist Zombie that is just begging to be put down."
In a letter Wednesday demanding company CEO Roger Davis stop selling the product, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called the target "incredibly offensive to both to the victims of gun violence and to the dedicated people who advocate for gun violence prevention, many of whom have lost loved ones to guns or are survivors themselves." Murphy represented Newtown in the House when the mass shooting occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year.
Thousands of people who lost family members or were shot have traveled to D.C. in recent months to urge stronger gun laws.
"To trivialize these experiences and attempt to portray such knowledgeable, passionate people as villains is a shameless and despicable ploy to make a few bucks," Murphy wrote.
Davis, who describes himself as a strong Second Amendment backer, said he had not yet received the letter, but he dismissed the criticism.
"We’re not animals out here. We feel terrible about the tragedy in Newtown," Davis, who called his pitch "an ironic story," said in a phone interview.
"If I made a target that was Newtown schoolchildren running and playing, that would be profiting off tragedy," he said.
Davis said his products aim to give children who would otherwise be inside "playing video games" a similar experience while getting them "outside with their families" learning to shoot guns safely.
Sales of the "gun control lobbyist" target, priced at $89.95, have been slow since the firm started selling it a few weeks ago, Davis said. He estimated he has sold "a couple hundred” so far.
“I wish I was selling more,” he said, speculating publicity from Murphy’s letter would boost sales.
Davis accused Murphy of exploiting the issue "to try to get some press." He joked that since he also sells a "Zombie Clown" target, "I’m waiting for a call from the Coalition of Clowns."
"It’s kind of funny," he said.