A North Carolina gun rights organization is under fire for an upcoming raffle that will include a rifle and portrait of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as prizes.
“We are having this raffle because if Hillary Clinton is elected, panic buying the day after the election will ensure that you can’t buy a firearm for love nor money in this country,” he said. “That portrait is also to remind people who will be making the next Supreme Court appointments if they fail to go out and vote.”
Valone said the raffle will have three prizes — a Palmetto State Armory M4-configured AR-15, 1,000 rounds of .223 ammunition and a portrait of Hillary Clinton.
Grant Gardner, treasurer of Grass Roots North Carolina, said in a statement that Clinton’s picture has been popular at shooting ranges in the past.
“Of course, we won’t tell you what to do with the photo, but when we ran a picture of Hillary on the front of our newsletter, we heard it was very popular at the range,” the statement said.
The raffle follows presidential candidate Donald Trump’s comments at an August rally in Wilmington that suggested people could exercise their Second Amendment rights to send a message to Hillary Clinton.
Brooks Fuller, a fourth year PhD candidate who teaches media law and media ethics at UNC, said he is unsure about whether the raffle is a threat or incites violence.
“Generally speaking, that would be the type of language that would be protected unless it was a clear and serious communication of an intent to use that gun against the candidate Hillary Clinton,” he said. “(The raffle) seems to suggest that the picture and the gun and the ammunition is being raffled off and that the end result is shooting the picture of Hillary Clinton.”
Fuller said violent political speech has grown common in today’s society, and some people might consider the raffle’s language to be threatening.
“This kind of violent speech has been more common in the darker nether regions of places like Twitter or 4Chan or Reddit or other places,” he said. “People have been using these technologies to spew pretty vitriolic language.”
Social media platforms can create mob mentalities that allow for this problematic language to occur, Fuller said.
Valone said only people on the left side of the political spectrum could see the raffle as threatening.
“My point is no rational person with even a basic comprehension of the English language could possibly read a threat on this issue,” he said.
Tickets for the raffle are $10 and the winning ticket will be drawn on Election Day.
By Ari Sen