Local Tea Party raffles off an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in a fundraiser

The Nevada County Tea Party raffled off an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, among other guns, in a fundraiser last month. “Three guns, three chances to win. Winner does not need to be present to win,” according to the flyer posted on the Tea Party’s website.

I know that most gun owners in our community are responsible people, and I also understand that “guns don’t kill people; people do.”

But the AR-15 assault-style rifle is a gun that “keeps being used in mass shootings,” as Fusion.net points out.

An AR-15 was used to kill nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon in October. The murder weapons used in the San Bernardino shooting were versions of an AR-15, a semi automatic version of a U.S. military assault weapon..

It also was the weapon used in the murders of 12 people at a Colorado movie theater in 2012. And an AR-15 was used in the 2012 murders of 20 first graders and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut.

“The gun industry has spent decades stoking demand for the AR-15 and rifles like it,” as the New York Times reports.

“There once was a nationwide ban on such assault weapons, imposed in 1994 following a number of mass shootings in the ’80s and ’90s,” as CBS News reports. “When it was lifted ten years later, gun rights advocates cheered and sales rose.”

I find it tasteless to be auctioning off an assault-style AR-15 rifle in a community fundraiser — another sign of the hard right’s desire to make bold political statements. How about auctioning off a trap shooting rifle or a hunting rifle? Or a cabin in Lake Tahoe?

I continue to find our community’s “messaging” to be incongruous: gun-toting Tea Party activists  or college-educated millennials who are tech geeks, and hiking and biking enthusiasts? LOL.

This blog will never run out of material!

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Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

11 thoughts on “Local Tea Party raffles off an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in a fundraiser”

  1. As in the takeover of a “government building” in Oregon while armed, it’s another “in your face while people die” parade of ignorance. Leaving the rest of us wondering why they aren’t muzzled and arrested. Let’s all wonder ———if it were Native Americans who took over the government offices in Oregon (armed with the above AR-15) what would be happening???

  2. What they are doing is unbelievable! Isn’t a background check of the buyer needed for the AR-15? Or how about background checks for all the raffle buyers? I think that’s the way to go. BTW I won’t be using any of the businesses that are selling the tickets (sorry Gold & Green, which I’ve used a lot!), and suggest a community-wide boycott of all of them.

  3. I agree with Mary Carol. I will not be using the businesses that are selling the tickets or supporting this raffle.

  4. I too will boycott. Sad. Did the winners have to get background checks? They should have before they were allowed to buy a ticket. Just noticed this was on the 5th. I am still making a few phone calls to make sure this was legal. Just terrible.

  5. The post this morning was so upsetting that I missed that the raffle already occurred. I am wondering who won the guns, were they local, and were they background checked??? Kathy, please keep us posted as to what you find out about the legality of this horrible raffle. Thanks.

  6. Mary, Here is the response I received from the communications director at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco.
    “Unfortunately, without doing extensive research into this particular raffle, we can’t reasonably comment on whether or not it was legal. That being said, while in poor taste, gun raffles are often legal. Here in California, it comes down to whether a background check was conducted through a licensed dealer before the gun was transferred to the winner. Many states sadly don’t even require that. But again, we cannot provide legal advice for this specific case.”

    I did forward him the latest raffle for the bullets. I am glad Jeff has made us aware of this.

  7. Last I knew about this was the winner has to go thru a background check via licensed dealer before the transfer can occur. I may have changed since then but I doubt it.

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