The Tennessee Firearms Association's promotions on its planned giveaway of a Bushmaster AR-15 Monday started April 8, more than a week before the U.S. Senate defeated an expanded background check proposal that was supported by Obama and, most polls indicate, by 90 percent of Americans, the (Nashville) Tennessean reported Friday.
The semiautomatic rifle is the same kind of gun used in December's Newtown, Conn., massacre in which 20 first-graders and six adults were killed.
Tennessee Firearms Association Executive John Harris said the giveaway will be subject to a background check of the winner of a drawing that had, as of Friday, brought in more than 10,000 contestants.
The gun group's website says the goal is "to advance the effort to resist Barack Obama, the federal government and even a few in Tennessee state government who are determined to destroy your Second Amendment rights!"
The promotion's timing is disturbing, said Linda McFadyen-Ketchum, a Nashville gun-safety activist and Democratic political consultant.
"The TFA's assault weapon giveaway just four months after Newtown and in the middle of our country's debate about gun safety is in-your-face insensitive. We have to balance the right to bear arms with the right to be safe. A gun giveaway right now inflames emotions and does not help us achieve that goal," she said.
"These gun-control activists, they can always pick the most recent event. If you look back through history, there's a long string of Newtown, Aurora, keep the list going. Under their analysis, you'd never sell a gun because someone got shot in recent history. But it has nothing to do with any prior events," Harris said.