They do things differently in South Carolina. A truck isn’t just a truck. It’s a symbol. And what better way to make your symbol strong than loading it down with symbols, like a semi-automatic weapon, the American flag, and a Christian Bible.
Unfortunately, as the Carolina Ford lot discovered, a gun isn’t quite the same as free cup holders. Derrick Hughes, general manager of Honea Path’s Carolina Ford dealer, is taking some heat for packing some heat into his customer’s hands.
The “patriotic” promo isn’t intended to be political, according to Hughes.
He claims it’s just something that he thought would appeal to local clientele, which might be true. The deal was that if you purchased a car, it came with a $400 voucher to buy Smith & Wesson AR-15-style rifle at the nearby Locked N Loaded gun shop.
According to Daily Mail Online, no one is obligated to use the voucher for a gun. They have the option to take the price off the car or buy $400 worth of fishing gear or some other, less famous gun.
“We are not forcing anyone to take the gun,” said Hughes.
But the dealership chose to promote the AR-15 because they think it’s the best tool for hunting wild hogs and coyotes. Ah yes, the famous wild hogs, threatening the neighborhood. Hughes also thought most locals already own pistols and shotguns for hunting.
It’s hard not to think that the dealership is choosing to lean on the AR-15 as a coded message against gun legislation—the gun was involved in several mass shootings earlier this summer, and automatic rifles have been used in several mass shootings with the highest body counts in the U.S. Many politicians and activists have focused on removing these guns from the public, so Carolina Ford seems to be sticking their tongue out at all this effort.
Their original post on Facebook about the deal, which has been removed, even specifically mentions “God Guns and America” together, so they clearly had some political thoughts:
While lots of people were pissed off by Carolina Ford, they also had a fair number of supporters in their Facebook comments who got their message loud and clear:
The Gods Guns and America theme is popular in some states, apparently. And the dealership says it’s been a hit in their area, with folks from as far as Georgia driving down to take advantage of the sale. But Hughes still denies any political meaning to what they’re doing.
“We are not taking a political stance in any way, shape or form,” he told WYFF News 4. “We are all country folk, God-fearing people. We are very patriotic people, believe in our country and salute our military.”