An Oregon Republican group that was criticized for raffling off an AR-15 rifle to "celebrate the legacy" of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. has issued an apology that many see as worse than the offense.

The Multnomah County Republican Party had planned on raffling off an AR-15 to "celebrate the legacy of two great Republicans who demonstrated leadership and courage that all of us still lean on today: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln."

When it was pointed out that both figures were assassinated, and that the only Republican among them, Lincoln, led a party that was only nominally "Republican," the group decided to issue a second statement.

In that statement, the group claimed that "[i]n our enthusiasm for celebrating Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Constitution, our Multnomah Republican Party issued a press release that was unfortunately easily misunderstood."

It promised to "communicate more clearly in the future, and learn and grow from this experience," before immediately claiming that "Martin Luther King's famous 'dream' even more relevant today than when he delivered it 50 years ago."

The group explains that King's speech is more relevant now than at the height of the Civil Rights Movement because "[t]oday, powerful elements within our political establishment are working to suppress the Constitutional rights of all Americans," as opposed to just those of African-Americans.

"Our rights to freedom in choosing our own medical care, our freedom to build businesses to enhance the lives of ourselves and our neighbors, our freedom to be free of debt, our freedom to be free of oppressive taxes and misguided regulations, and yes our freedom to defend our lives under the Second Amendment -- all are under attack."

"The great political issue today," the group continued, "is whether or not the American people of all creeds and races will live free or live as slaves -- slaves to their own overreaching government. 50 years ago, Martin Luther King's great speech was an appeal for freedom for African Americans. Today, those same words he spoke 50 years ago are an appeal for freedom for all Americans."

They also clarified that the "Lincoln Day Dinner" event with Ted Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, is unrelated to the AR-15 raffle celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, although they are being held the same day and in the same venue.

[AR-15 assault rifle with ammunition magazines" on Shuttertock]