Candidate for Virginia governor giving away AR-15 rifle

A Republican candidate for Virginia governor is giving away an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle as part of his campaign.

Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart announced the giveaway Saturday in a campaign email and a twitter post to supporters to show his dedication to the Second Amendment. It's an offer that's drawing both cheers and jeers on social media.

Stewart is asking his supporters to register on his website for the contest, and the winner will receive an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. He says whoever wins the weapon will have to pass a background check, and be legally allowed to own a firearm.

Stewart is running against Ed Gillespie for the republican nomination for governor in Virginia. He told FOX 5 he's drawing attention to his campaign and gun owners Second Amendment rights.

When asked if he knew the raffle would enrage his critics, and if the choice was a responsible one, Stewart said, "Absolutely. Look this is a semi-automatic rifle, it's one of the most popular rifles sold in the United States and I also do want to bring the need for constitutional carry in Virginia. We should have it and I'm hoping to accomplish that as we move into the raffle."

AR-15-style weapons and other assault-style rifles have been the subject of fierce debate because of their use in mass shootings across the United States, including the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, and the Orlando club massacre this summer.

The rules for the contest are posted on Stewart's website.