Facebook has taken down a post by Greg Evers, a Republican candidate for Congress from Florida, under claims that it promoted Graphic violence. Evers launched a contest on his campaign’s Facebook page, with plans of giving away an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to the winner. The post said that he would hand the gun over to the winner on Independence Day, on the Fourth of July.
Evers’ initial announcement had come barely a week after the deadly Orlando shootings on June 12. Dubbed the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, it claimed the lives of 49 people and injured several others.
Greg Evers announced on Monday that in of wake of this tragedy, and with other terrorist incidents on the rise, he wants the American people to be able to protect themselves. As so he justified the gesture of his contest of giving away an AR-15. The Pulse gay nightclub, where Omar Mateen committed the mass shooting last Sunday, is only a five-hour drive from the Florida Panhandle congressional district that Evers hopes to represent.
“With terrorism incidents on the rise, both at home and abroad, protecting our constitutional rights has never been more important. 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.”
But Facebook took down the republican candidate’s original post on Tuesday morning, following several reports that the post promoted violence. A spokesperson for Facebook elaborated on the site’s decision to take down Evers’ post.
“When we were made aware of it, we found the post to be in violation of Facebook’s terms and removed it.”
But right after Facebook took down his original post, Greg Evers announced via a new post on his Campaign page that the contest would go on, despite Facebook’s opposition.
“A California-based liberal activist reported the post for promoting graphic violence. Facebook couldn’t be more wrong about the nature of the post. But, the good news is that we anticipated this and all contest entries from liking and sharing that post have been saved.”
Evers, a Republican congressional candidate, launched the competition on Monday. [Photo by Steve Cannon/AP Images]
To enter the competition for Evers’ AR-15 giveaway, participants have to be residents of the Florida Congressional District and must be at least 18 years of age. Participants are required to like and share Evers’ Facebook page and also sign up on his campaign website. A winner will then be selected at random and will be handed the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The winner, who will be announced on July 4, the American Independence Day, will have to pass a rigorous background and security check.
The rifle that Evers wants to give away is a custom-built AR-15 that is part of the “Homeland Defender” collector’s edition. Developed by Advanced Tactical Solutions, the AR-15 was initially reported to have been the weapon used by terrorist Omar Mateen in his attacks. These reports were later refuted, and the false claim was attributed to a misunderstanding. The weapon used by the terrorist has since been revealed to be the Sig Sauer MCX.
Evers, who has been serving in the Florida Legislature since 2001, has been in the Senate for the past six years. He has continuously received an A+ grade from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for the past 15 years. His chief rival, State Representative Matt Gaetz, has criticized the competition, calling it a campaign gimmick.
“This is a campaign gimmick. Instead of giving away something that benefits one, he should have found a way to make all Floridians safer.”
Gaetz has an A- grade in the NRA.
The Orlando mass shooting from last week has brought a long-fought gun debate back into light once again. On one hand, liberals are crying for reform in gun laws to ensure that firearms, especially assault rifles, are not accessible to everyone. Conservatives, however, have been demanding easier access to guns, arguing that the 2nd amendment gives Americans a broad right to bear arms.
Advocates of stricter gun control focus on how lives can be saved with more extensive background checks, arguing how Omar Mateen, despite being in the FBI’s terror watch list, was able to purchase the assault rifle that he used in the attacks.
[Photo by James H. Collins/AP Images]