With all the political email lists I’m on, I’ve seen my share of odd fundraising attempts. But I never thought I’d see something like what Corey Stewart is doing. He’s actually encouraging people to donate by holding a raffle to give away an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
Stewart claims he’s using this as an opportunity to show his support for the 2nd amendment, something he figures will win him a lot of support in the Republican primary. But he’s picked a weapon that’s sure to cause some extra controversy (as if giving away a gun for political fundraising wasn’t enough). That’s because the AR-15 is a weapon that’s been used in several mass shootings.
In a situation that many of his constituents might remember, for instance, the AR-15 is very similar to the weapon of choice used during the DC area sniper shootings back in 2002. The weapon is also similar to those used in the massacre at a night club in Orlando, the San Bernardino shootings, and the Newtown school shooting.
Stewart seems to be welcoming the negative attention that this fundraising attempt is bringing. In a press release about it, he combined his support for the 2nd amendment with an attack on the so called “liberal media.”
“If elected to be your next Governor, you can be 100% CERTAIN I will never compromise on your God-given right to keep and bear arms,” Stewart wrote in his press release. “In fact, even though I’m sure it’s certain to send the liberal media into a frenzy, to show my dedication to the Second Amendment my campaign is GIVING AWAY an AR-15 to one lucky supporter.”
Now the contest rules state that winner has to go through a background check and comply with all applicable laws since the rifle will be given away through “a federally-licensed Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer.” So there’s at least some protections in place to make sure the gun ends up in the hands of someone who’s legally allowed to own a gun.
In the end, it will be interesting to see if this political stunt raises him a fair amount of money and is able to help him catch up to Ed Gillespie — the current front-runner for the Republican nomination.