Republican raffle: poor taste or constitutional rights?
Will Tucson's GOP leaders back down from a controversial raffle?
Reporter: Tammy Vo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It was a decision that has fired up people across the country and in southern Arizona. Now, democrats are calling on Tucson's GOP leaders to rethink their actions.
The Pima County Republican Party is trying to raise money and decided to raffle off a Glock 23 handgun which is very similar to the Glock 19 that Jared Loughner is accused of using in the January 8th shoothings. The decisions of the Pima County Republican Party are totally legal and are protected by second amendment rights. But some are questioning if the raffle is the right decision, morally.
So far, one dozen raffle tickets have been sold for $10 each. The Pima County Republican Party says that they plan to sell 125 tickets total. The gun comes fully loadedwith three magazines, adjustable grips and a case.
"Yeah, I think it's ok to do that" said Keith who shops at the Safeway where the January shootings took place.
But for Marty and Coe Slattery who often drive by the six crosses representing the victims in the shootings, it's just wrong. "Very negative as far as giving a gun away in a raffle or guns period" said Coe Slattery. Her husband added "I wouldn't take it if they gave it to me".
Mike Shaw, Interim Chairman for the Pima County Republican Party tells KGUN 9 that they've sucessfully raffled guns before and that that the Glock 23 was leftover from another raffle last year.
"Some people are calling and yelling at us and worse. Others are calling and wanting to buy a ticket" said Shaw.
"Have you at all second guessed the decision to raffle off this gun?" asked Reporter Tammy Vo.
"I will say... if I had realized the strong reaction this got I would've taken it into consideration when we decided to do the raffle. I would admit that" answered Shaw.
The Pima County Democratic Party released a statement saying:
"It shows a stunning lack of judgment and sensitivity to raffle off the same make of weapon that Jared Loughner used in the Jan. 8th shooting spree that killed six and wounded 13. It's a slap in the face of a still grieving community and seems to mock the events of that tragic day. The Pima County Democratic Party calls on our counterparts in the GOP to stop, change the prize to an iPad, a set of golf clubs, a VIP dinner with an elected official or anything that doesn't conjure up images of that terrible day."
House democrats released a statement saying:
“First, the actions of the Pima County Republicans are shocking, disrespectful and in poor taste at best. To raffle off the same brand of gun used to assault Congresswoman Giffords and kill and injure several others, including a 9-year-old girl, is unconscionable.
“Arizona is still healing from these wounds. If any good could have come out of this horrific event, it would be civility in our state or employing sensitivity when needed, not reopening the wounds or making light of them.
“I am gun owner myself, a supporter of the Second Amendment and I also believe in common sense. Their raffle is not common sense; it is sick, and the Pima County GOP should call off the raffle in respect for the Arizonans who died and were injured in the Tucson shooting. It’s time for all of us to check ourselves in mutual respect for one another so we can all work together to make our state stronger.”
Will the Pima County Republican Party pull the raffle?
Shaw wants to remind everyone that Congresswoman Giffords has been an advocate for gun rights and that the January shootings were the actions of one man and don't have anything to do with this raffle.