Meet the Tone-Deaf Gun Shop Owner Auctioning an AR-15 to Benefit Orlando Shooting Victims
Just outside Chicago a gun shop by the name of Second Amendment Sports is planning a controversial auction that is causing a stir. Second Amendment Sports, located in McHenry, Illinois, will auction a Smith & Wesson AR-15 to benefit the victims of the Orlando massacre, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The gun is very similar to the one used by the shooter, Omar Mateen, to kill 49 at the Pulse nightclub on June 12.
The gun shop owners insist it's not a political statement.
"We wanted to do something for the loss of lives and injuries that happened to people in Orlando," store co-owner Bert Irslinger Jr, told Chicago Tribune, which broke the story. Irslinger, Jr. and his father operate the suburban gun store located about 50 miles from Chicago.
"For our industry, this isn’t weird,” Irslinger Jr said. “It’s a normal product. It’s bought every day by Americans across the United States.”
"We don't look at it as a gun issue. We think this is a terrorist issue," Irslinger, Jr. added.
However, some locals directly affected by recent mass shootings were particularly put off.
"Guns are not toys," said Crystal Lake, Illinois resident Kathleen Larmier. Larmier’s son, 27-year-old John Larimer, was one of the 12 Colorado movie theater shooting victims in 2012.
Executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence in Chicago, Colleen Daley, was also offended by the auction.
“I’m not saying they should be illegal, but raffling off a gun is not taking its killing power seriously," Daley told the Chicago Tribune.
But even with the mixed messaging, she gave the store owner credit for his proposed $2,000+ donation to the OneOrlando Fund.
"I'm glad people are trying to raise money," she said. "I just don't think it's the most appropriate way to do that. These guns are weapons of war, meant to kill large numbers of people in a short time, which is what happened in Orlando. I find it very distasteful and offensive."