Just a little more than a week after the deadliest mass shooting by a lone perpetrator in American history occurred in Florida, a state politician has decided to bring attention to his congressional campaign by giving away a weapon similar to the one used in the attack.
State Sen. Greg Evers, who is looking to make the jump to U.S. Congress in the First District in the Panhandle, announced today his "Homeland Defender" AR-15 rifle giveaway on Facebook. Anyone can enter by liking and sharing his Facebook status, and Evers will select a winner on the Fourth of July.
“With terrorism incidents on the rise, both at home and abroad, protecting our constitutional rights has never been more important,” Evers said in a prepared statement. “With all that’s happening in the world today, I’ve never felt stronger about the importance of the Second Amendment in protecting our homeland than I do now.”
The rifle was made by a company within the district and has the text of the Second Amendment etched onto its side.
However, you don't need to be a member of a well-regulated militia to win it. Anyone 18 or older in the district who can pass a background check is eligible to win the grand prize.
Evers, the scion of a famed Florida fertilizer family, has a well-known penchant for guns. In the Florida Senate, he recently coauthored a bill that would have allowed people with concealed-carry permits to bring guns onto Florida college campuses. The bill, controversial even among some fellow Republicans, ended up being defeated in the latest legislative session. He was also behind a successfully passed bill that prevents schools from punishing students who play with simulated weapons. It suffices to say that Evers has a lifetime A+ rating from the National Rifle Association.
Evers' contest will add one more AR-15 semiautomatic rifle (the civilian version of the military's fully automatic M16) to the estimated 10 million to 12 million that are already out there in America. Of course, of those millions of civilian assault rifles, not a single one has actually stopped a case of terrorism on American soil.
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AR-15-style rifles are powerful weapons capable of shooting off as many rounds a second as the user can pull the trigger (unless, of course, that user has a perfectly legal Bump Fire Stock, which removes the need for repeated trigger pulling). The gun is so powerful it's shunned by hunting purists and isn't recommended for amateur home defense unless the user wants to risk shooting through his own walls and even into neighbor's homes.
Gun control proponents believe that obtaining such a weapon shouldn't be as easy as it is in a state like Florida. In this case, however, obtaining one can be as simple as clicking a few buttons on Facebook.
The Sunshine States's superconservative First District was once the stomping grounds of MSNBC host Joe Scarborough. Current officeholder Rep. Jeff Miller is retiring. Evers' biggest competition in the Republican primary is State Rep. Matt Gaetz. Gaetz also has an NRA-approved track record on guns.