AR-15 style rifle is displayed at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop, in Aurora, Colorado, July 2012. Similar weapons have been used in at least four high-profile shootings in the past year, including most recently the Connecticut school shoot
AR-15 style rifle is displayed at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop, in Aurora, Colorado, July 2012. Similar weapons have been used in at least four high-profile shootings in the past year, including most recently the Connecticut school shoot

A Republican running for Congress in the southern U.S. state of Florida is holding a contest to give away an AR-15 rifle to someone who lives in his district.

Greg Evers, who is running for the open seat in Florida's 1st district in the state's western panhandle, announced the contest Sunday, a week after a gunman in Orlando, Florida killed 49 people.

The mass shooting brought calls for increased controls on who can buy a gun, but some, like Evers, have said terror attacks show the need to preserve a person's right to obtain the weapons for defense.

"With terrorism incidents on the rise, both at home and abroad, protecting our constitutional rights has never been more important," he said.  "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."

Evers is offering entries to people who like his Facebook page and share one of his posts, something that will increase his exposure as he campaigns for the Republican primary in August.  He plans to pick a winner for the AR-15 rifle on July 4, which is Independence Day in the United States.

Comments on his campaign Facebook page have been mixed.  Those against the idea call it "disgusting and offensive," and say Evers is a "disgrace and should be ashamed."  Supporters thank him for protecting their Constitutional rights and that they are "glad someone is concerned about our American families."