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Dealership draws criticism for offering free handgun with new car purchase


What would you choose: A free lawnmower or a free handgun?

That's the choice being offered to customers of the Cloquet Ford Chrysler Center when they buy a new car – a promotion that has caused a stir in the northeastern Minnesota city.

FOX 21 reports that since running the ad, owner Al Birman says his dealership has been inundated with calls from anti-gun advocates, calls he described as "mean."

He told the TV station that as a business owner he didn't want to offend anybody, nor did he want to "be so compliant you give up your right to the Second Amendment."

On Facebook, the Northland Brady Campaign and Protest Minnesota group urged people to contact the dealership (and the Duluth News Tribune, the paper in which the ad was run) to express their displeasure with the ad and promotion.

"People who have guns should take their responsibilities seriously and not just walk away from a gun dealer with a free gun," the group wrote. "This is about changing the conversation and changing social norms about the role of guns and gun violence in our communities. We can't sit back and shrug off the corporate gun lobby's push for more guns for everyone."

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Birman is still running the free handgun promotion until the end of May, but has decided to pull the ads.

He responded to the criticism on his dealership's Facebook page, posting a link to a report about how many people are killed or injured each year by lawnmowers.

His is not the first dealership in Minnesota to offer firearms along with a vehicle purchase.

In February of last year, the Muscatell-Burns Ford dealership in Hawley, Minnesota ran a promotion designed to attract hunters by offering a free shotgun with every truck purchase.

The dealership said it had an overstock of trucks and was looking "to start this spring off with a bang!"

And in Andrews, Texas, earlier this year, the Benny Boyd Car Dealership offered a choice of an AR-15, a deer rifle or a handgun with a new car purchase, Everything Lubbock reports, but noted: "We're obviously not going to just hand you the gun when you purchase the car.

"They have to go through background checks, because sometimes bad people buy cars."

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