JOPLIN, Mo. —
Mooneyham said he disputes the label "assault rifle" as a misperception of the AR-15. He also took exception with those who equate it to violence.
He recalled the Biblical story of Cain and Abel as evidence that murder has happened - with other weapons - since the beginning of time.
Mooneyham said the AR-15 giveaway spoke to Ignite's membership.
“It’s just our nature, whereas if you have a church where it’s 75- to 85-year-old women, they would give away a nice quilt, and they’d be excited about it," he said.
In 2011, Ignite Church drew national attention when it sponsored billboards featuring provocative photos to tout a discussion series about marriage and sex. Mooneyham said the latest promotion was meant to get people to go to church.
“If we get people in the door, we get to preach the Gospel,” he said. “If we can get more people to follow Jesus, I’ll give away 1,000 guns.”
Eli Yokley writes for the Joplin, Mo., Globe.