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A look back at the Stop Handgun Violence billboards

The pointed billboards that have stretched along the Massachusetts Turnpike have changed over the last two decades, but they have hewn to a consistent message: Gun laws save lives, and unrestricted access to weapons can take them away.

The sign is being dismantled this week, marking the end of the provocative and often controversial display by the group Stop Handgun Violence, which has to vacate its spot behind the Lansdowne Street parking garage near Fenway Park.

John Rosenthal, the cofounder of the group, owned the garage until two years ago, when he sold it to Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox. John Henry, principal owner of the Fenway Sports Group, also owns The Boston Globe.


As Stop Handgun Violence's familiar and iconic imagery and slogans disappear, Rosenthal reflected Thursday on the varying displays conjured up by the group.

"My personal favorite was the ransom note: 'We have your President and Congress - NRA,'" he said in an e-mail. That sign went up in 2008, and stayed visible for one year.

On the group's Facebook page, locals lamented the loss of the divisive signage.

"I was always so pleased to see this board," one person wrote. "Will be looking for the new one."

Rosenthal said he eventually plans to erect a sign on a different development he is working on nearby.

Here's a selection of some of the billboard's changing designs over the years:

In 2004, the sign praised the relatively strict gun laws in Massachusetts.Jonathan Wiiggs/Globe Staff
In 2006, workers unveiled a billboard that drew attention to laws in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and Georgia.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
A brightly colored billboard in 2008 made reference to gun shows.David L. Ryan/Globe staff
In 2013, Rosenthal unveiled a sign calling for an assault weapons ban.Bill Greene/Globe Staff
The latest design is now in the process of coming down.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.