A suburban Chicago gun shop is reportedly coming under fire for raffling off an AR-15 rifle to benefit victims of the June 12 terrorist slayings at a Florida gay nightclub.
The semi-automatic weapon that Second Amendment Sports in McHenry, Ill., plans to give away is similar to the gun used in the Orlando, Fla., massacre that killed 49 people, the Chicago Tribune reports
"We wanted to do something for the loss of lives and injuries that happened to people in Orlando," Bert Irslinger, Jr., who co-owns the shop with his father, tells the newspaper.
But a woman who lost her son in the 2012 movie theater attack in Aurora, Colo., where the gunman also used an AR-15, is incensed.
"Guns are not toys," Kathleen Larimer, who lost her 27-year-old son John in the attack, tells the Tribune. "They should be taken seriously. I'm not saying they should be illegal, but raffling off a gun is not taking its killing power seriously."
Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence in Chicago, also called the raffle offensive.
"I'm glad people are trying to raise money," she tells the Tribune. "I just don't think it's the most appropriate way to do that. These guns are weapons of war, meant to kill large numbers of people in a short time, which is what happened in Orlando. I find it very distasteful and offensive."
The gun shop's marketing director Vic Santi insists "we don't look at this as a gun issue."
"We look at this as a terrorism issue," he tells the Tribune.
The store intends to give the proceeds of the raffle to OneOrlando Fund to benefit shooting victims, operated by Strengthen Orlando Inc., the Tribune reports. The store is contributing an additional $2,000.
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