Florida GOP candidate to give away type of gun used in Orlando attack

Florida GOP candidate to give away type of gun used in Orlando attack
FILE - In this March 7, 2016, file photo, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, speaks during a legislative session in Tallahassee, Fla. Evers, who is running for Congress in the Florida Panhandle, has announced a Facebook contest to give away a semi-automatic rifle. Evers said Monday, June 20, 2016, that he is giving away an AR-15. Photo: (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Republican candidate for Congress in Florida has launched a contest on his Facebook campaign page to give away a semi-automatic rifle on Independence Day.

Greg Evers announced the giveaway barely a week after a shooting at a gay nightclub killed 49 people in Orlando, which is about five hours drive from the Florida Panhandle congressional district Evers seeks to represent.

“With terrorism incidents on the rise, both at home and abroad, protecting our constitutional rights has never been more important,” Evers said. “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 has served in the Florida Legislature since 2001, including the Senate the past six years. The National Rifle Association has given him an A-plus grade for the past 15 years.

The NRA says the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans a broad right to bear arms. Advocates of stricter gun control say the amendment doesn’t mean citizens should have the right to own assault weapons.

The custom-built AR-15 rifle, which the Evers campaign says is the “Homeland Defender” collector’s edition, will be given away to one randomly chosen person who has liked and shared Evers’ page or signed up on his campaign website. It is open only to adults in the district. The winner will be selected on July 4 and must pass all required background and security checks.

The rifle was made in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and displays the Second Amendment on a metal plate on the right side near the trigger guard.

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