'Gun Raffle for Votes' billboards called illegal

9:41 PM, Oct 24, 2012   |    comments
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  • Browning rifle and Glock pistol offered in Smyrna gun store voter raffle
  • Eight billboards like this draw criticism in Metro Atlanta
  • State Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta)
  • Adventure Outdoors owner Jay Wallace

ATLANTA - Eight billboards are raising some eyebrows around Metro Atlanta and the nation.

They offer a free chance in a raffle for a rifle or pistol if you show up at Smyrna's Adventure Outdoors with your voting sticker, proving you've cast a ballot.

The only problem is, they're not supposed to do that.

"I immediately knew it was illegal," State Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) told 11 Alive News on Wednesday.

Fort said his objection has nothing to do with guns, but with Georgia's election law, which makes it a felony to offer any kind of prize to a voter.

Even well meaning companies like Krispy Kreme and Starbucks have been stopped in the past from offering free donuts or coffee to voters who show their stickers.

The gun store's owner, Jay Wallace, was out of town, but talked to 11 Alive by phone.

He said he's simply trying to encourage voting.

"It's getting people involved in the political process, taking an interest in your government, seeing what your politicians are doing," Wallace said.

But after an exchange of letters with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, he's modified his offer.

He posted a sign on the front door of his store saying anyone who can own a gun legally is eligible for the rifle and pistol raffle, even if they don't vote.

Senator Fort said the door sign may satisfy the law, but he's still upset about the original highway signs.

"I wish they would fully comply by changing the wording on the billboards," he added.

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