JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local firefighters union is defending its decision to raffle off a high-powered rifle. The winner will get a rifle from the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters.
For $10, anyone can be entered to win, then design, their own gun.
"We do these raffles and some of our members were saying, hey how about an AR-15?" said Randy Wyse with the union.
He says they're awarding that firearm to one lucky winner. It's the same kind of gun used in mass shootings like Sandy Hook.
"I've heard out there that it's going to be an automatic weapon. No it's not an automatic weapon, it's a semi-automatic weapon just like any riffe," Wyse said.
He says they know right now that guns are a hot-button issue and their raffle wasn't meant to cause controversy.
"I hate it that it would draw any negative attention to anybody that feels it's not right ,but it's something that's been successful for us in the past."
We wanted to get the Jacksonville sheriff's opinion. Sheriff John Rutherford says he doesn't think the move is insensitive. He says he's a second amendment supporter and the gun isn't what we need to be worrying about.
"Guns aren't the problem. The problem is people that are willing to pull the trigger on guns," said Rutherford.
Wyse adds they're confident the weapon will wind up in good hands.
"This gun is going to end up in the hands of a hero. Probably a police officer or a firefighter-- lots of police officers and firefighters are buying tickets," he said.
Wyse says they have 3,000 tickets to sell. He isn't sure if they will sell them all but says all the money raised will go back to the union.
The union is raffling off just the receiver and a credit to customize it. But we're told the winner will have to clear all necessary background checks before he or she can get his or her hands on it.
The drawing is April 18.