Opinion: Gun raffles benefit rural communities

Gun raffles have often been a fundraising tool for numerous groups. However, in light of recent gun violence, gun raffles have come under heavy scrutiny as to their legitimacy and necessity. However, the auctioning of firearms helps a variety of organizations gain money to help with the betterment of the community, the auctions follow all current gun laws in place and raffles do not have any bearing on the recent gun violence.

When raffling off a gun, the organization will usually sell tickets anywhere from $5 to $40 dollars depending on the price of the gun. In a recent raffle put on by Grain Valley Sports League, people from all over the state of Missouri and into Kansas contacted the organizers to buy tickets. Selling tickets at $10, the kids raised a total of about $4,000 during their raffle.

In a separate gun raffle in Northwest Oklahoma in 2017, about $12,000 was raised to support volunteer firefighters in the town. In that area, gun raffles are a popular fundraiser for countless organizations. Legal gun raffles lead by the local NRA committee have raised over $1 million in the past 25 years.

Gun raffles raise a remarkable amount of money for schools and organizations alike. If laws were passed banning gun raffles, it would destroy the fundraising models of numerous organizations. For many law enforcement stations, fire departments, churches, veteran groups and hunter-supported wildlife habitat organizations, gun raffles are the main source of revenue for their programs.

Because gun auctions are popular in small rural communities, raffling off sporting tickets or something normally seen in a city area are not as popular. Hunting is a very popular sport in many rural communities and organizations can do the most good with the amount of money made through a gun raffle.

Some towns use the money made by gun raffles to benefit public lands and can benefit public safety. In a small town in Oklahoma the funds raised by a local raffle were used to hire a company to clear out cedar trees which have exasperated forest fires and infected the local habitat. In this area, gun raffles have been used to better the land and other aspects of the community that otherwise would not have been funded.

More importantly, however, the banning or limiting of gun raffle will not have an impact on gun violence or public safety. Because a background check is still required to obtain a firearm, it still meets all gun laws in place. Also, the raffling of AR-15’s should not bear any weight because only about two percent of all murders are committed with a rifle. 

Banning raffles would not accomplish the anti-gun stance of abolition. Nor would it limit the number of guns sold per year.

When someone wins at a gun raffle they don’t just walk home, gun in hand. They are required to abide by the gun laws in whatever state they won. Meaning that the firearm has to be taken to a licensed dealer to be processed. The winner will also have to undergo a federal background check and abide the set waiting period for processing. There is no difference between purchasing a firearm and winning one at a gun auction.

Lawmakers attempting to restrict the use of gun raffles as a means of fundraising are hindering the rights of law abiding Americans. In truth, those who participate can walk down to their local gun shop and purchase a gun with the same level of scrutiny only for more money out of their pockets.

Organizations should not have to limit what they legally raffle off. If the raffle follows the state laws – which is normally the case being that most gun raffles are by schools or government bodies – then there should be no restriction in the auctioning of firearms or any other legal product.

Trying to limit or restrict auctions that allow for vetted, law abiding Americans to win a firearm and still have to pass a federal background check to take it home, cannot be deemed as a legitimate attempt to stop gun violence and crime. Those who desire to stop gun raffles are, simply, just a couple more gun haters who are trying to make it more difficult for innocent Americans to practice their Second Amendment rights.

Gun raffles are a legal way for organizations to make money to benefit sports, schools, public lands and other community needs. Banning or limiting raffles would only hold negative effects on rural communities where the majority of their funds are a result of gun auctions.

Photo courtesy of fredericknewspost.com.

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