“Does the Bible defend my right to keep and bear arms?” a promotional flier on the website of an upstate New York Baptist church asks.
Well, the answer is maybe, if you're Grace Baptist Church in Troy, N.Y. The church said that its giving away the AR-15 in honor of hunters and gun owners who have been “viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years.”
The flyer's headline reads “Win a FREE AR-15 … my peace I give unto you … John 14:27.”
Republican New York state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is expected to speak at the March 23 service when the winner will be named. McLaughlin told CNN that the event is completely legal and that he regularly speaks at events supporting the Second Amendment. He says many upstate New York pastors carry guns.
The church is reserving the right to disqualify anyone it deems to be of “unquestionable character,” and said it is complying with all state laws regarding background checks, state-required modifications and age restrictions.
In a cryptic message on the church's website, Pastor John Koletas said: “To those with filthy, vulgar, obscene comments and death threats, we sincerely love you and pray for you.”
The AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that the church is giving away is valued at about $700, CNN reports.