Just weeks after the Sutherland Springs church shooting in Texas, a faith-based filmmaker is promoting the upcoming movie "The Reliant" by giving away an AR-15 rifle on Christmas day.
According to the film's website, the controversial giveaway is aimed at promoting the new movie and encouraging "responsible gun ownership."
Film producer Dr. J.P Johnston, who owns the DPMS AR-15 5.56/.223 caliber rifle used in his film, told the Standard News Wire that he is giving away the firearm because of the hero who ended the mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs earlier this month.
Johnston hailed Stephen Willeford, 55, for grabbing his own AR-15 to stop the gunman who had killed 26 people at the church.
Willeford had shot the gunman twice, causing him to drop his weapon and flee in his car. The man reportedly died on the side of the road soon thereafter.
"Who knows how many Sunday services the murderer would have visited if it weren't for the courage of Stephen Willeford," Johnston said.
"But his courage wouldn't have amounted to much more than a brave death if it weren't for the Second Amendment. Our forefathers knew that arms in the hands of the law-abiding was necessary to protect against criminals and tyrants. That's why they secured this right in the Bill of Rights, and required our leaders to take an oath to uphold and defend it," he added.
The shooter had been prohibited from legally owning a firearm as he had been convicted of domestic violence.
"This brings to mind the bumper-sticker adage, 'If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will own guns,'" Johnston said.
Following the mass shooting, the Williamson County Sheriff's Office hosted its first church security summit in Georgetown in order to educate churchgoers on how to defend themselves if they find themselves in similar situations.
Patricia Gutierrez, a spokesperson with County Sheriff Robert Chody's Office, said the Williamson County Sheriff ensured that the 1,000 people representing more than 170 congregations in attendance were given enough information on how to create a security program for their congregation regardless of the size of their church.
In order to win the firearm, the contestants are required to answer five trivia questions listed on the film's website and social media page. The AR-15 will be awarded on Christmas Day and will be shipped via a dealer with a Federal Firearms License.
The movie follows the story of a 19-year-old girl who struggles to care for her younger siblings during widespread looting and rioting that was caused by an economic crisis.
Johnston contends that his film is "relevant and winsome in its defense of the right to keep and bear arms."
"The Reliant," which stars Kevin Sorbo ("The Legends Of Hercules"), Brian Bosworth ("The Longest Yard"), and Eric Roberts ("The Dark Knight"), is expected to hit theaters in 2018.
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