A new twist on reaching voters

This week I am in central Washington visiting family.  I went to the local coffee shop early today and when I returned picked up the newspaper in the driveway. The bottom front-page headline caught my attention, “Didier campaign having gun giveaway.”  Republican Clint Didier, a farmer from a nearby community, is running for state government and plans to give away two pistols and a military-style rifle to three lucky supporters who provide names, zip codes and email addresses to his campaign website. The winners will be picked at random.

Didier claims this contest “allows people to civilly show support for the Second Amendment at a time when it is being threatened.” Didier also claims, “the guns are not pulling the trigger, the people are pulling the trigger. These gun-free zones are enticing people to go to these areas to do these terrible deeds.”

The article also says that online gun sweepstakes have been a popular tool for Republican candidates in races across the country in 2014. In an April 2014 article, The New York Times examined gun giveaways and called them, “one of the most useful tools for campaign outreach in the 2014 Republican primaries.” 

It is easy to argue that these giveaways are drawing on scare tactics to encourage Americans to stand up for Second Amendment rights. National Rifle Association board member and rock star Ted Nugent was quoted in the Times article in support of Colorado Republican, Tom Trancedo: “We all better wake up and fight back together before it’s too late,” Mr. Nugent wrote in an email to supporters. “Enter to win a semiautomatic AR-15 – when you’re done, consider making a donation of $25 or more to help Tom keep our freedoms protected.”

Richland, Wash., where I am, is less than four hours from Seattle and just about four hours from Troutdale, Oregon, both of which have had school shootings in the last three weeks. Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, this map on Vox.com shows there have been 74 school shooting incidents. Clearly America’s gun violence epidemic is not improving.  However, as schools and communities are trying to keep children safe, some lawmakers continue to seek fewer gun laws to protect Second Amendment rights, which causes me to wonder: as a country what do we really value?

[Colleen Dunne is an NCR Bertelsen intern in editorial and marketing and a primary contributor to Global Sisters Report.]

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