A New Hampshire car dealership owned by Mike Hagan is offering a free AR-15 with each vehicle purchase. AR-15s and other assault rifles became a point of heated controversy following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. On June 12, Omar Mateen, 29, opened fire inside the nightclub, killing 49 and injuring 53. The assailant was eventually shot and killed by a SWAT team. However, the devastating incident was one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
Mike Hagan, who runs Hagan’s Motor Pool Auto Repair and Sales in Rochester, recently partnered with a local gun shop to offer free assault rifles to customers with the purchase of a vehicle. Customers who are not interested in an AR-15 have the option of getting a 9mm handgun instead.
During a recent interview, Mike confirmed the gun store has and will continue to run background checks on buyers. He also said he will not sell vehicles to anyone who appears suspicious. The car dealer said he handed out a total of four AR-15s since the promotion began.
When questioned as to whether the AR-15 promotion could be dangerous, Hagan said he is not concerned.
“I could worry about the same thing with a car being used to hurt other people. In the end, that kind of heinous crime is in the heart,” he said.
According to the Washington Post, Hagan’s marketing campaign was launched in May. However, it gained national attention in the wake of the Orlando shooting.
The car dealer’s A-15 promotion, which was featured on Facebook, reads “Need a car? Want a free AR-15 also? Get both at Hagan’s.” The advertisement directs prospective customers to a “Featured Used Cars” page, which explains purchasers must pass a background check to qualify for the promotion.
The advertisement also underlines the fact that the car dealer does not store AR-15s on premises.
Mike Hagan said the campaign was not meant to ignite any controversies. He also pointed out the campaign was it well underway before the unfortunate incident in Orlando, Florida.
“This wasn’t started to make any sort of message or political statement. It happened well before the terrible attacks in Orlando. We’re giving these weapons away for people that can lawfully obtain them and we’re confident that they’re going to maintain them responsibly.”
A certain kind of crazy…New Hampshire car dealer, Mike Hagan, offers free AR-15 assault rifle with every car https://t.co/AkdpYr3IGn
— Allie B (@Bibmomma3) June 18, 2016
Mike Hagan admitted car sales have increased due to the controversial marketing campaign.
However, some residents have argued that although the campaign was launched before the Orlando shooting, the car dealer should have suspended it out of respect for the victims.
Area resident Jen Marks said the car dealer’s AR-15 promotion is simply an opportunity to arm “more nutjobs” who could cause more harm to innocent people. Lynn Pelletier, another resident, said the AR-15 was not a gun that should be sold to civilians. In her opinion, the assault rifles should only be available to law enforcement officials.
Not the Onion: Car dealer offers free AR-15 with new car https://t.co/tZFR5IPq3R
— philip harris (@pharris830) June 20, 2016
Mike Hagan insists he has received more positive feedback than negative. However, he acknowledged some of the negative commenters accused him of being prejudicial towards the gay community.
In a Facebook post, he said, “[I]t was the farthest thing from the truth. I believe regardless of race, political affiliation, sexual orientation or any of that, you have a right to defend yourself… by learning how to properly and responsibly operate a firearm, you make yourself equal with all who would attempt to attack you.”
The AR-15 rifle is a weapon of choice for many Americans, with an estimated five million U.S. residents owning at least one. It has also been the weapon of choice in several mass shootings, including a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and at a worker’s party in San Bernardino, California.
Mike Hagan, who is a combat veteran, said the controversial weapons retail for approximately $500 in Rochester. The car dealer contends the AR-15 promotion was never meant to be controversial.
[Image via Puttawat Santiyothin/Shutterstock]