It’s a safe bet that if filmmaker Michael Moore needs a new car within the next month, he won’t be shopping at Carolina Ford in Honea Path.
Through November, the dealership is running a “God, Guns and America” special. With the purchase of any vehicle, customers will receive at no extra cost a Bible, an American flag and a $400 voucher for the purchase of a Smith & Wesson AR-15 from Locked-N-Loaded in Abbeville.
“We sat down here, me and my whole team, and we looked at different aspects of how to do this. Everybody at this dealership is proud of our country and almost everybody likes to hunt, and so we tried to do something a little bit different,” General Manager Derrick Hughes said.
Hughes said the provocative ad campaign hasn’t been universally supported, but it’s led to conversations on social media and with his customers about one of the country’s most divisive issues — part of the impetus for the giveaway to begin with.
“We’re not trying to force any kind of beliefs on anyone,” Hughes said.
Although the flag and Bible are handed out with the purchase of a new vehicle, obtaining the gun is a more stringent process. Customers are required to have a bill of sale and voucher signed by Hughes personally before they can make the buy, pending approval of a background check by Locked and Loaded.
For customers who might not want a long gun — or a firearm at all — the voucher can be redeemed on other products for sale in the store, Hughes said.
“There are no firearms on the premises,” Hughes said.
Although the advertisement was limited to South Carolina publications, Hughes said it’s reached more than 75,000 people, with a customer arriving Monday from Dawsonville, Georgia, to buy a vehicle because of it.
A Second Amendment supporter, Hughes said he also favors responsible gun laws but isn’t in favor of restrictions that limit a person’s constitutional right to bear arms.
“I’m a big Second Amendment supporter. I do believe there needs to be more gun control, but there also needs to be more common sense when it comes to it. I don’t agree with the three-day rule one bit at all. If you can’t pass the background check, that should be it,” he said.