Gun Raffles Debate Intensifies: Newtown Rifle to Be Given Away?

Gun raffles to raise money for struggling organizations have become a topic of controversy across the nation as some officials in the United States government push for tighter gun laws.

In an effort to raise funds, some organizations have turned to the raffle of donated guns. The fundraisers are not a new idea, and the ones scheduled this year were planned long before the Newtown, Conn. shootings. But since the incident during which 26 children and adults were killed, the idea of raffling guns has become more controversial.

The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police is raffling off a gun every day in May, including a Ruger AR-15-style rifle with 30-round magazine- it's similar to the one used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The West Fargo's Youth Hockey Association, raffling over 200 weapons, is one more example of planned gun raffles in the coming year, according to the Associated Press.

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The Chiefs of Police hoped to raise enough money to offset a weeklong police cadet-training course. The goal was to raise $30,000 and at $10 a ticket, the event quickly sold out of its 1,000-ticket mark.

"In 33 states, including Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the winner of this AR-15 can turn around the same day and sell it to anyone without an ID or background check," Jonathan Lowy, director of the legal action program at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told AP. "They should cancel their raffle and give away a nice mountain bike or snowmobile."

But many others disagreed and showed support for the raffles, which could raise money for a good cause.

"Somehow I find it unlikely that felons are spending money on raffle tickets in the hopes of scoring guns," one woman said on the San Francisco Gate blog. "Really, really unlikely."

"If you don't support this, then don't buy a raffle ticket," another user prompted.

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