A senior Queensland Government minister was targeted with rape and death threats after complaining about a billboard in her electorate that suggested a handgun would make a good Christmas present.
Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch complained about the billboard advertisement by firearms retailer Gun World three weeks before last year's state election.
The advertisement featured a smiling woman dressed in a Santa-themed outfit holding a handgun with the slogan: "Santa knows what you really want for Christmas".
Ms Enoch — who was small business minister at the time — posted a petition on her Facebook page calling for the billboard's removal because "it does not reflect the kind of community we want to live in — one that is free of guns".
"My first reaction to it was one of horror," she told ABC's Four Corners program.
"This is really diminishing the value, the importance of, the responsibility of, gun ownership."
Her post attracted over 3,000 comments.
Among them was: "Let someone break into your house and rape and kill you"; "Someone shoot this bitch"; and "Remember that while being raped".
"There were moments where I really thought, 'Am I in danger here?'" Ms Enoch said.
"I mean, these are people who were advocating the watering down of gun laws. These were people that had access to guns."
Gun lobby group condemned petition
Ms Enoch's petition also separately drew the ire of a gun industry lobby group, the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA).
SIFA condemned the petition, accusing Ms Enoch of wanting to rid the community of all guns.
"It is outrageous that a small business which serves a legal, open and ethical market should be targeted by a QLD Labor MP," it said in a media release.
"It is outrageous that the same QLD Labor MP is the serving minister for small business."
The lobby group later cited Ms Enoch's petition as one reason for backing a political campaign called "Flick em" during the election.
SIFA contributed $220,000 to the $555,460 "Flick em" campaign during last year's Queensland election. It aimed to force a hung parliament by urging voters to place the major parties last.
Among the likely beneficiaries of the campaign were One Nation and Katter's Australian Party, whose federal leader, Bob Katter, is the father-in-law of SIFA director Robert Nioa.
One of SIFA's goals was to push for discussions about the re-categorisation of some firearms, including the controversial Adler lever action shotgun the Queensland Government had recently made harder to acquire.
Mr Nioa's company imports the Adler shotgun into Australia for sale.
SIFA spokeswoman Laura Patterson said the abuse directed at Ms Enoch after her petition was unacceptable.
"It upsets me personally, and I'm sure that behaviour is absolutely something that the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia would condemn," she said.
"We do not condone, in any way, any activity of that variety in any form."
Watch the Four Corners investigation, Big Guns, on ABC iview.