The Tennessee Firearms Association gave away a gun on Monday.
An AR-15 rifle will be given to one of the nearly 12,000 people who registered on the association's Web site.
Association Executive Director John Harris told Nashville's News 2 the AR-15 rifle was chosen to be given away, in hopes of attracting attention to the group. “We really viewed this as a promotion to build name recognition to get people's attention to the fact that firearms and firearms ownership is a topic we work on as an organization.”
“These AR-15's are always the target of a lot of news stories because the federal bans that are proposed talk about them” said Harris. “It's [the giveaway] not really in response to any specific thing, other than the general tone of the Obama administration over the past 5 years.”
The association asked people interested in registering for the giveaway to give their name, telephone number, e-mail address and zip code. They also had to give permission to the association to use their name in any promotion.
Harris said they chose 10 people at random in the event the winner isn't able to pass the required background check.
“They're hard to find. They're extremely hard to find,” said Harris. “The Bushmaster AR series and they make several configurations; if you look at the suggested retail on Bushmaster's Web site it tends to be about $900 to $1,400 to $1,500 for the ARs. And I've heard of dealers selling them new for $2,000 to $2,500.”
A group of Nashville area pastors met Monday to discuss gun violence in their communities. Pastor Michael Joyner of Greater Faith Baptist Church told Nashville's News 2 he's concerned about any group giving away guns, particularly assault rifles.
“We're doing gun buy-backs. We're trying to get guns off the street. We're seeking to get guns out of the hands of our youth” he said. “We've seen the results of this weapon in Newtown, this weapon or one similar to it. If it gets in the wrong hands we're going to be looking at a whole new situation.”
But Harris said the winner is someone who can legally own the rifle no matter how they obtain it. “Once we do everything we can do to make sure it's sold under state and federal law to someone who could bypass those standards. Whether it's stole, stolen, or whether it's mist-used down the road we've done everything we can do to guard against that.”
Tim Simons from West Tennessee won the rifle. Harris expects him to pass the background check. He's retired military currently working as a CPA. Simons will pick up the AR-15 in the next two weeks.
The AR-15 has been in high demand since President Obama announced a proposed ban on assault weapons.