AR-15 raffles have apparently become a trend in political campaigns these days. This February, you can spice up Valentine’s Day by participating in these raffles sponsored by two candidates racing for US Senate seats: South Carolina State Senator Lee Bright and Georgia US Representative Paul Broun.
So, how would you like to start off 2014 with a brand new AR-15 for free? You can sign up online to win this semi-automatic gun. As David Weigel wrote in Slate this week, this trend has become particularly popular in political campaigns since “it's cheap, it's attention-grabbing, and it's always a news story. Conservative readers pump their fists; liberals share their outrage with friends on Facebook.”
It seems to me that it is really a matter of rivalry between Democrats and Republicans over the possibility of exercising more gun control. Recent – and not so recent – incidents like Sandy Hook revived the argument to push for further gun safety legislation in government. While Democratic states like New York and Connecticut tightened their gun laws, more than a couple Republican states scaled back their already minimal gun laws.
This debate over gun control seems to have revived the difference amongst parties. For Republicans, the ability to own an unlimited number of guns and carry them whenever and wherever constitutes an essential part of freedom. For Democrats, widespread gun ownership contributes to violence; thus unrestrained liberty must give way to regulation.
Sen. Lee Bright seems to sum it up how this new trend works: "I am the pro-gun, pro-Constitution candidate in this race for the U.S. Senate — and I can't think of a better way to get that word out than by giving away a brand new AR-15."