In an effort to raise money, the Multnomah County Republican Party of Oregon is holding a raffle with the big prize being an AR-15. The drawing will be held June 24, and while The Oregonian reports that over 150 tickets have already been purchased, not everyone is happy about the contest or especially the prize.
Chances to win can be bought for $10 per ticket or 12 tickets for $100. The tickets clearly state that participants must be older than 18 in order to enter and that the winner must pass a criminal background check before claiming the prize: a DPMS AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
Despite recent proposed – and failed – legislation to ban the exact same so-called “military style” firearm, county GOP chairman, Jeff Reynolds didn’t see a problem with holding the raffle.
“We have observed other groups being successful with similar fundraisers,” he said. “It’s a legal product for law-abiding citizens.”
However, Sen. Ginny Burdick, who supported the failed legislation to ban the rifles, called the contest “very poor taste.”
Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon, a political activist web publication, similarly called it “utterly tasteless, pathetic, and outrageous,” and shamed the Republican Party’s decision to announce the raffle on the six-month anniversary of the Clackamas Town Center shooting, which took the lives of two people and injured another. However, some readers of the column disagree with Chisholm’s observation, saying that it’s likely more of a “sad accident” rather than a “sick, cynical joke” as he implies.
Regardless of the reasoning behind the raffle, which is likely just as they stated, a fundraiser, there’s no denying that gun raffles, of any type, generate money.
In nearby Clackamas County, Tootie Smith held a raffle for a 9mm Glock last month and raised over $3000 for a campaign for a Clackamas County commission seat. Texas Rep. Steve Stockman is raffling a Bushmaster AR-15 on the Fourth of July with the snazzy slogan “Grab this gun before Obama does!” Additionally, a St. Helens, Oregon softball team also held a raffle for an AR-15 earlier this year and raised more than $3,000. Of course, they have all received backlash for using firearms in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary as a means to raise money
Reynolds stated that with current ammunition shortages, they are also considering holding a drawing for ammo as well.