Days after the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has come to the conclusion that now might not be the right time for his campaign to be giving out a free shotgun to his supporters.
Originally touted as a “win a Texas-made shotgun” raffle, an Abbott spokesman confirmed on Monday to the Dallas Morning News that the campaign had changed the drawing to become “just a contest for a $250 gift certificate.”
The URL for the shotgun raffle now redirects to a nondescript page on Abbott’s website marked “contest.”
The giveaway—launched before the shooting, in which suspected gunman Dimitrios Pagourtzis is believed to have used a shotgun—had drawn intense criticism from the Austin chapter of the national March For Our Lives movement. In a note shared on Twitter, the group called the raffle a “disgusting display of disregard of the toll gun violence takes.”
Andrew White, a Democrat vying for his party’s gubernatorial nomination, also criticized Abbott’s promotional stunt.
Abbott has long been one of Texas’ most ardent pro-gun politicians. As his website proudly touts, he is responsible for signing into law the state’s open carry and campus carry legislation and “will continue to fight any federal government overreach that aims to disrupt the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Texans.”
This is at least the second time Abbott has attempted to foist a shotgun on his supporters. In 2015, his campaign ran a similar raffle for anyone who donated at least $25 to his election.
“This contest will give one lucky Texan a Texas-made shotgun, will help support the campaign, and will rub Washington’s nose in Texas’ brand of freedom,” Texans for Greg Abbott official Michael Burley said in an email at the time. “What’s not to love?”
That same year Abbott tweeted that he was “EMBARRASSED” to have fallen behind California for new gun sales.
Abbott has yet to say whether he is still embarrassed today.