Republican congressional hopeful Eric Brakey of Auburn is giving away an AR-15 rifle to one of his monthly campaign contributors.

“I want to give people a gun,” Brakey said Thursday.

Eric Brakey

The former state senator told potential donors that “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and my opponent Jared Golden want to take away your guns, but I want to give you one!”

Golden, a combat veteran, has never expressed any desire to take away guns and was one of the few Democrats in the House to vote against mandatory background checks for gun sales, a decision that raised ire with some in his party. Earlier this year, Golden said “for many of my constituents, access to firearms is a necessary part of daily life” and Maine has “a tradition of responsible gun ownership.”

Brakey’s campaign plans next month to give what it calls “the ‘most wanted’ firearm by gun grabbers” to one person who has signed up by then to contribute a monthly donation of at least $5 to Brakey’s 2nd Congressional District campaign.

Brakey said the gun giveaway plan has already bumped up donations and attracted attention to his campaign.

Brakey, who represented Auburn in the state Senate for two terms, is one of three Republicans vying for the chance next year to take on Golden, a first-term Democrat from Lewiston. The other GOP contenders are Adrienne Bennett of Bangor, a former press secretary for Gov. Paul LePage, and Dale Crafts of Lisbon, a former state legislator.

Crafts said Brakey came up with “a unique approach to capitalize on his work on the Second Amendment.”

He added, though, that both he and Brakey have been strong advocates against “the Democratic reach into our gun safes at home.”

Crafts said he’s been a sportsmen for more than 30 years defending gun rights and protecting “Maine’s natural beauty and outdoor heritage,” something he would continue in Congress.

Crafts, who uses a wheelchair, is an avid hunter who has a specially made tractor that allows him get into the woods.

“If you can’t find me on the campaign trail,” he said, “I am probably out hunting in my track chair.”

Brakey readily embraces the mantle of an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment.

He said that four years ago he pushed through the constitutional carry law that lets Mainers have guns freely. He insists it is one reason Maine is the safest state.

The cover of Windham Weaponry’s most recent catalog, features a gun similar to the one GOP congressional hopeful Eric Brakey of Auburn  plans to give away next month to a randomly selected campaign donor. Provided

Brakey said that easy access to guns gives ordinary citizens the same ability as criminals to be armed — and that helps convince potential wrongdoers to be wary.

“Washington Democrats are openly calling for banning and confiscating AR-15s,” Brakey said. “We deserve better.”

“Functionally, there is no difference between an AR-15 and a hunting rifle. If they can take away one, they can take away the other,” Brakey said.

Brakey, who lost a U.S. Senate race last year to incumbent Angus King, an independent, said he’s getting the AR-15 from Windham Weaponry, a Maine company. It costs about $1,200, he said.

He said he will probably pick a winner during a Facebook Live event after the Nov. 17 deadline to enter.

Brakey said the winner will be able to pick up the AR-15 from Windham Weaponry or have it shipped to a registered dealer “once they have completed a federally required background check.”

Three years ago, a director of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Matt Leonard, resigned after criticism of his effort to raffle an AR-15 to raise money for the chamber.

 

Eric Brakey touted his gun giveaway plan on social media this week.


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