MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A candidate for the Alabama Legislature isn't just shooting his mouth off when it comes to the right to bear arms. He's giving away a shotgun.
People from some Birmingham suburbs who visit the campaign website of former state Sen. Steve French of Mountain Brook can sign up for a drawing for a Remington 870 shotgun. The drawing will coincide with the start of turkey-hunting season on March 15.
French is one of four candidates for Alabama House District 46 in the Republican primary June 3.
"It's hard to get people interested in a June race in February, but everybody is always interested in hunting," French said Tuesday.
French is a former executive director of the Alabama Republican Party who served 12 years in the Senate before losing in 2010. He's seeking a political comeback in the House district being vacated by Republican Paul DeMarco.
French said he was an advocate for Second Amendments rights during his three terms in the Senate. He said he was looking for ways to get people interested in his new campaign and decided that giving away a shotgun at the start of turkey season would work. He decided to make it a Remington after the company announced plans for a manufacturing plant in Alabama.
"I've been involved in Republican politics in Alabama for 25 years, and I've never seen it done," French said.
He said people entering the contest will see his website, where he promotes his record as a Second Amendment advocate while in the Senate. Visitors to the website will leave information that French can use to contact them later in the campaign.
His contest is limited to registered voters who can legally own a gun and are residents of three cities in the district: Hoover, Homewood and Mountain Brook. The winner will get a $450 gift certificate to a gun shop, which will cover the cost of the Remington 870 or that can be used to trade up to a more expensive gun, he said.
French launched the giveaway Monday night and had 125 entries by early Tuesday afternoon. He said there would have been more if not for a few technical glitches.
"But I think we are still ahead of the Obamacare website," he said.