Local politician giving away AR-15 rifle for Christmas

WASHINGTON — In a pitch sure to draw both praise and scorn, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart is giving away an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in his campaign for governor.

A campaign email to supporters contains a photo of a black-and-gray AR-15 with a camo-finished stock over the phrase, “Giving Away an AR-15 for Christmas.”

“It’s the most popular semi-automatic rifle sold in the United States,” said Stewart, who hoped the giveaway accentuated his support for gun rights.

But while the AR-15 is the nation’s most popular rifle, it’s also reviled among gun control advocates because it’s been used in some mass shootings, including a 2012 shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and the 2012  Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Just a week ago, the conspiracy theorist who walked into Comet Ping Pong pizza chasing an unfounded rumor fired an AR-15 inside the restaurant on Connecticut Avenue, south of Chevy Chase.

“Some people choose to commit crimes with that,” Stewart said. “That’s up to the criminals, but that’s not a problem with the rifle itself.”

Stewart is among several candidates running for the Republican nomination for Virginia governor next year. He was fired as Virginia chairman of the Trump campaign in the closing days of the presidential race when he organized an unauthorized protest outside the headquarters of the Republican National Committee.

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