Gun shop raffles off AR-15 to benefit Orlando nightclub shooting victims

An Illinois gun shop is raising eyebrows after its owners announced it's holding a raffle to raise money for victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. The grand prize? An AR-15 rifle.

Bert Irslinger Jr., who co-owns Second Amendment Sports in McHenry with his father, said all proceeds of the raffle will go to the OneOrlando Fund, which was set up to support the victims of last month's shooting at Pulse nightclub.

The shooting on June 12 claimed 49 lives and injured scores more.

"It's important for people to know how much our business supports all Americans against these types of acts," Irslinger said in a news release. "This isn't a gun issue, it's an anti-American issue."

The raffle, however, has been criticized for its grand prize, a Smith and Wesson AR-15 modern sporting rifle similar to the one used in the Pulse nightclub shooting. The owners of Second Amendment Sports told the Chicago Tribune their goal is to "help the Orlando victims by raffling off one of the shop's most popular products."

"I understand that there are different opinions out there," Vic Santi, store marketing director, told the newspaper. "We don't look at this as a gun issue. We look at this as a terrorism issue."

The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence criticized the raffle as "distasteful and offensive."

Distasteful and offensive...

Posted by Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence on Thursday, June 30, 2016

"I'm glad people are trying to raise money," Colleen Daley, executive director of the Council, told the Chicago Tribune. "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."

Second Amendment Sports will be selling raffle tickets from July 1 until the store's grand opening celebration on July 31. Each ticket costs $5.

The store will also donate an additional $2,000 to the OneOrlando Fund.