Rep. Steven Long handgun giveaway

Rep. Steven Long is raising money to giveaway three handguns after a school shooting in Florida killed 17 people. 

COLUMBIA — A South Carolina lawmaker is holding a contest to give handguns to teachers in the wake of the Florida school shooting that killed 17 people. 

Rep. Steven Long, R-Boiling Springs, is raising money online to buy three Smith and Wesson handguns that cost nearly $500 a piece.

He plans to give them away to a teacher, a college employee and one "freedom-loving patriot" who enter the random drawing. 

Long is using the giveaway as a way to promote legislation that would allow teachers in South Carolina to carry concealed weapons into schools. It comes at a time when President Donald Trump and other lawmakers have called for similar proposals to arm teachers. 

“We must do everything we can to ensure the safety of children in schools, both K-12 and our higher education institutions. Allowing teachers or school staff members to carry is the most efficient and most effective way to do this,” Long said.

The gun giveaway includes gift certificate for the winners to attend a class on concealed weapons. Long's webpage says the people who receive the handguns will need to pass a background check. 

It isn't the first time Long has tried to grab public attention in recent days. Last week, he was one of several lawmakers who co-sponsored a bill that attempts to define same-sex marriages as "parody marriages." 

Reach Andrew Brown at 843-708-1830 or follow him on Twitter @andy_ed_brown.