A week after the mass shooting in Orlando, a congressional candidate and state senator from Florida’s Panhandle announced a “Homeland Defender Giveaway” contest to give residents of the district a chance to win an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle on Independence Day.

“With terrorism incidents on the rise, both at home and abroad, protecting our constitutional rights has never been more important,” state Sen. Greg Evers, a Republican running for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Jeff Miller, said in a written statement touting the giveaway.

“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,” Evers said.

While Evers’ giveaway is sure to bother gun-control advocates and liberals – especially from urban communities — his campaign has made the not-so-risky calculation that it will be wildly popular in the rural district, one of Florida’s most conservative seats. Evers’ main rival for the seat is state Rep. Matt Gaetz. Also running in the GOP primary are James Zumwalt, Rebekah Bydlak and Chris Dosev.

Evers’ campaign announced the idea after a Tennessee state lawmaker was criticized for holding a similar giveaway that he had planned before the June 12 mass shootings at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando where 49 people died and 53 were injured before police shot and killed the gunman who pledged allegiance to ISIS.

For 14 years, Evers has earned an A-plus rating from the NRA.

Evers has repeatedly tried to pass a law allowing concealed weapons permit holders to carry firearms on campus. Evers also passed the so-called “Pop Tart Law” — so named after a child was suspended from school for chewing the pastry into a gun shape — that prohibited schools from punishing kids for playing with simulated weapons. He also sponsored successful legislation that blocks lawmakers from siphoning money out of a trust fund established to regulate concealed weapons permits. And he was a sponsor of the so-called “Docs n’ Glocks” bill that limited physicians from inquiring about firearms in the home. A challenge to the law, spearheaded by pediatricians, is scheduled to be heard Tuesday by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The giveaway is available only to those 18 years or older who are residents of the district and can pass a federal criminal background check. A winner will be chosen at random from a list of all who have “liked” the “Greg Evers for Congress” Facebook page and “shared” a post from the page, according to his press release.

Evers pointed out that the cost-built well-equipped firearm was made in the district by Advanced Tactical Solutions in Santa Rosa Beach.

“The rifle proudly displays the 2nd amendment on the right side of the receiver,” Evers’ press release says.

 

Repost from: http://www.politico.com 6/2016