Gun Raffles Debate Includes Banned Firearms in Proposed Gun Control Legislation

A new gun raffle in New Hampshire is drawing the criticism from gun control advocates after news revealed several of the guns included in the raffle would be banned under the most recently proposed gun control legislation.

The national divide during the current debate regarding gun control regulation has been steadily increasing since the massacre in Newtown, Conn. left 26 dead. That divide will assuredly only widen after a coalition of police chiefs became the target of criticism after announcing plans to conduct a gun raffle to raise money for a youth training program.

The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police recently revealed plans to raffle off a gun a day in the month of May, which would include assault rifles with high capacity magazines, rifles and some automatic hand guns. Although the fundraiser was planned before the Newtown massacre, gun control advocates say the raffle is detracting from positive public discourse and is criminally irresponsible.

"The winner of this AR-15 can turn around the same day and sell it to anyone without an ID or background check," John Rosenthal, founder and director of the Massachusetts-based Stop Handgun Violence, told AP.

"They should cancel their raffle and give away a nice mountain bike or snowmobile," he added.

While critics say the raffle could be better suited offering other items, the law in New Hampshire does not prevent guns from being offered for a raffle; meaning that any legal challenges would certainly be defeated in court.

"Having these gun giveaways and gun raffles can trivialize the seriousness of firearms," Jonathan Lowy, director of the legal action program at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement.

The raffle is being conducted to fund a police cadet training academy and has already raised the money it was aiming for. The 1,000 tickets allocated for the raffle have already sold out with participants vying for a new firearm with their $30 ticket.

Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan did detail that all winners must pass the required state and federal background checks and any applicable laws before they would be rewarded with a gun.