Springfield Sliders' Gun Giveaway Causes Controversy
Some local community members are angry about the Springfield Sliders' gun giveaway promotion at Wednesday's baseball game.
Sliders owner Todd Miller says this was purely a business move and he doesn't want to pull something they've planned for months because of the shooting in Orlando.
Some community members say the timing is poor and free guns are not what Springfield needs.
Miller says he briefly thought about postponing the gun giveaway after the Orlando shooting, but not for long.
"I do know that it could potentially be controversial because of what took place here in Orlando, and we're very sorry that happened. But that has nothing to do with why we're doing the gun giveaway. It's not something that we just started this week," said Miller.
Community activist Robert Taylor says he lives on Springfield's eastside, and he doesn't want free guns out in his community.
"There's always gunshots - every night," Taylor said.
"I'm very disappointed on the surface, and I'm angry deep inside."
Taylor also says someone could try to copycat the Orlando shooting here, but Miller says there is no more danger than someone buying a gun legally.
"We actually never own possession of the gun, never have itit will never be at the ball park. The company that will have it, the person who wins will still have to go to their store and follow the same background checks, still have their FOID card, still be 21 years of age."
Sam Winger runs a community group that tries to put on events for and help those in difficult financial positions.
He says the Sliders should give out something more positive.
"We don't need to give people stuff that divides a community.We need to give people stuff that brings communities together," Winger said.
Miller says guns are very popular in the area, and the giveaway is just another one of many promotions.
"If that's such a big thing in this area, we figured it was something we would try out and figure out how we can bring those people into the park that haven't been here before."
The raffle winner gets their choice of either a twelve gauge shotgun or a semi-automatic pistol.
Miller says he was hoping to double their normal weekday attendance with the giveaway, but he is a little concerned the Orlando shooting could hurt .