SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — An Eastern Washington political committee has decided it will not auction an AR-15 rifle at its Lincoln Day Dinner in March because of criticism that is the same type of weapon used in last week's Florida high school massacre.

The Stevens County Republican Central Committee said Tuesday it was removing an AR-15 from the March 24 auction because of the Florida shooting in which 17 people were killed.

The committee issued a statement saying: "We stand by the 2nd Amendment, but we also recognized that in the current environment, publicizing a means to acquire a semi-automatic AR-15 has the potential to insert more separation into our political discourse."

The committee says that instead of an AR-15, the winner of the auction will receive a gift certificate to a local business.