On April 19, when the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter at Clemson University hosts its inaugural Second Amendment Banquet, the highlight will likely be a giveaway of a Mossberg 715T semiautomatic rifle.
Nick James, who chairs Clemson’s YAF chapter, says that his group will not be able to give the prize to the winner on the night of the event because state law bans firearms from campus. (He also stresses that the weapon will never actually be on campus.)
In an editorial on YAF’s blog, James explains the group’s rationale for the rifle giveaway.
“Our main motivation in putting this event together has been the recent talk of gun registration, which aims to limit our Second Amendment rights,” wrote James.
“Current legislation focuses on reducing magazine capacity, creating a longer and more expensive background-check process, inhibiting the sale of guns through private transactions and even outlawing certain styles of guns,” he later recapped in an email to The Daily Caller.
For these reasons, the group decided to undertake the giveaway of a gun that in popular parlance is typically called an assault rifle.
“These rifles are no more dangerous than a typical hunting rifle,” argued James,” and some say they pack even less punch due to their shorter barrels.”
As a bonus, the lucky winner will get a 25-round magazine instead of the standard 10-round magazine.
Clemson’s YAF chapter will run a thorough background check on the winner before actually handing over the gun.
Clemson officials are distancing themselves from the unique sweepstakes.
“As long as the group complies with applicable laws and university policies and procedures, Clemson does not interfere with a student’s right to free speech,” said Clemson media relations representative John Gouch in a statement obtained by local NBC-affiliate WYFF.
Naturally, the April 19 gun giveaway is not without its critics.
“It’s not about whether it’s legal or constitutional,” Clemson alum Will Dukes told WYFF. “I think it’s just the wrong thing, especially at this time, to put a gun in the hands of someone as young as 18.”
The gun giveaway has attracted a lot of other condemnation on campus as well.