The Ohio man known as "Joe the Plumber" is back in the spotlight—and this time he's raffling off an AR-15 rifle to protest the way guns are being talked about in America.
"Despite what national news commentators say, the AR 15 is NOT an 'assault weapon' or 'weapon of mass destruction,'" he writes on his website, JoeForAmerica.com.
The AR-15 is technically not an assault weapon, though it looks like one, and been described by the media that way in the wake of the Newtown shooting. Gun rights groups say the AR-15 and similar rifles aren't fundamentally different from firearms typically used to shoot targets or hunt, while gun control advocates say the weapons were originally designed for military use and therefore shouldn't be available to civilians.
The "assault weapon" term has become so controversial in recent months that The New York Times recently wrote that "where people stand on the gun issue can often be deduced by whether they use the term."
Joe the Plumber, whose real name is Joseph Wurzelbacher, tells Whispers that more than 60,000 people have entered the raffle since he launched it last month. "People are scared of being ostracized and told they are unfeeling [in the gun debate]. ... So I wanted to let them know they aren't alone," says Wurzelbacher. "That's how I started five years ago. I asked a question a lot of people were thinking."
Wurzelbacher rose to national fame during the 2008 presidential campaign after he asked President Obama a question about the then-Democratic candidate's small business tax policy and garnered the much-talked about response from Obama: "When you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Since that time, Wurzelbacher has parlayed the question into a career as a conservative commentator and activist, as well as an unsuccessful run for a House seat in Ohio. His website says Wuzelbacher is also available for speaking engagements.
The deadline to enter to win the AR-15 is March 31.
Watch Wurzelbacher's pitch: