County GOP in Giffords' district raffles handgun
September 1st, 2011
05:11 PM ET
11 years ago

County GOP in Giffords' district raffles handgun

(CNN) - The Pima County Republican Party, located in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Arizona congressional district, is raffling off a handgun to raise money nearly eight months after a mass shooting left the congresswoman gravely wounded.

The chairman of the county's Democratic party, Jeff Rogers, said the move is upsetting to a community that's still grieving.

"This is something that pulls a scab off of a wound," Rogers said.

The gun, a Glock, is the same make that Jared Lee Loughner was charged with using to shoot Giffords in the head and kill six others at a meet-and-greet in Tucson earlier this year.

And while local Democrats generally support gun ownership rights, Rogers said this isn't about the Second Amendment–it's about being insensitive.

"They could have changed the prize to an iPad or a set of golf clubs or anything that doesn't conjure up images of that day," Rogers said.

In its Aug. 26 newsletter, the Pima County Republican Party advertised the gun, saying "Help Pima GOP get out the vote and maybe help yourself to a new Glock .45."

One raffle ticket costs $10, and the group hopes to sell 125 tickets. The winner will also receive three 12-round magazines, adjustable grips and a case.

"That's right. For just $10 this gun could be yours," the newsletter said, with a large photo of the gun displayed beneath the text.

In an interview on CNN's "American Newsroom," Pima County GOP Chairman Mike Shaw defended the raffle, saying it's a tradition the group has had for years.

"The person who won the raffle last time hasn't picked it up yet," Shaw said. "So we decided to raffle it again."

When pressed on whether the group was worried the raffle might be insensitive, Shaw pointed to a 2008 article in the Arizona Capitol Times, where Giffords weighed in on the Supreme Court hearing that eventually lifted the gun ban in Washington, D.C. Giffords spokesperson at the time, C.J. Karamargin, told the paper that Giffords, herself, owned a Glock and regarded gun ownership as a constitutional right.

Giffords' office declined a request for comment.

Handgun and rifle raffles are not rare for political fundraisers, and they've been known to bring in thousands of dollars at a time. Republican Parties in Illinois, Maryland and Oregon have used the practice.

Loughner has remained incarcerated at a federal prison in Missouri since May, while federal authorities ask for more time to restore Loughner's mental capacity to withstand trial.

- CNN's Bill Mears contributed to this report.

Filed under: Arizona • Gabrielle Giffords
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Do not expect Arizona republicans to have any sense of decency. However, as a bunch of psychos, these baggers sure know how to build up anger against them.

    September 1, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. lgny

    As a youth, I remember the NRA conducting hunter safety courses and promoting responsible gun ownership. How they have changed from those days.

    September 1, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. a little sad


    Considering the group, not surprising, but tacky.

    September 1, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. nintex

    I think raffling a gun off at this time in this place is totally insensitive, but how do you teach Republicans sensitivity? Maybe Palin will buy a ticket – that's about her speed in the area of sensitivity.

    September 1, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Tacky? No. Purposeful? Yes.

    The INTENDED subtext is 100% clear: "Loughner's Glock couldn't get Giffords out of office, but ours can."

    I mean, where do you think the money they are raising with the raffle is going to go? School lunches? Hell no...they'll use it to fund the person who runs against her next year.

    September 1, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Mamma Bear

    If some one ELSE was carrying a gun at the time of the shooting then MAYBE he would have been STOPPED sooner....raffling a Glock similar to what Laughtner used can be a SYMBOL OF FREEDOM AND PERSONAL a GOOD citizen with a firearm to use in DEFENSE of someone using a firearm to do harm...THAT is NOT insensitive to me!!!

    Now, Sniffit, you have a VERY GOOD POINT....makes my above comment seem lame considering who is raffling the gun :::sigh::: I'm leaving my comment though because that is still how I feel about a gun being raffled in light of the situation. Can't win for losing sometimes, so I'm just putting it out there anyway.

    September 1, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. AntiFringe

    Insensitive? It's reprehensible, repulsive, criminal. They are some sick people.

    September 1, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. cf

    We are long past the point of expecting decency or sensitivity or common sense out of these right wing extremists.

    September 1, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Bergie

    This shows the type of ignorance and arrogance that defines the Republican Party these days. This is the kind of action that leads me to think that maybe our country really is falling apart.

    September 1, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. fbmarky

    Perhaps the winner from last year failed to collect his prize because he was shot down in a Safeway parking lot.

    September 1, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Republican Robber Baron

    Some things, although legal. are better off not being done. Arizona is the new national capital of NUTS overtaking South Carolina and other right-wing extremist states. Even John McCain calls them Hobbits.

    September 1, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. jacq

    Distasteful,this people have no character.

    September 1, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. packin' heat

    didn't the Reps get all bent out of shape that muslims wanted to put a center next to the WTC after 9/11? saying that it's insensitive and crap?

    now AZ can do the raffle. nothing illegal. is is the right thing to do? idk. i'm all for gun rights and such, but sometimes i think they could have achieved their "stated" goal by going around another way.

    September 1, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. ClydeTheSlyde

    I don't believe in coincidence.

    September 1, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  15. John

    Does discourage me how adults can be so manipulated by the press. Guns aren't evil ... certain people are. Step back and just give it some thought. Don't be such puppets and victims.

    September 1, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Gooseka

    This is no more or less insensitive as having an airplane auction eight months after 9/11 within New York City.

    September 1, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Bruce

    To Mamma I recall another citizen did have a weapon at the scene, but chose not to fire off into the direction of the gunman because he feared he would hit an innocent...unarmed people had jumped on him before the other armed citizen had a chance to fire.

    September 1, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    That's cool Mamma Bear...I get where you're coming from...but you should be aware that the incidence of violent crime has a DIRECT, not an INVERSE relationship to the incidence of gun ownership, the and prevalence of handguns in particular. That's numerical FACT, so the silly arguments people love to make about "if someone had a gun, it would've ended sooner and with less death/injuries blah blah blah" really just amount to a kind of wishful pie-in-the-sky ideological magic-thinking circular logic that can be reduced to the following: "if everyone was carrying a gun, there'd eventually be no more violent crime, because everyone could defend themselves from it and it would scare everyone who wants to commit them into not doing so, so then there would be no reason for everyone to carry a, basically, the key to word peace is everyone carrying a gun."

    September 1, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. AndyBlue

    Disgusting. What is wrong with these people. Yeah, vote in more tea bag politicians and watch the witch hunts begin.

    These people have no shame and couldn't be a worse example to the rest of the world unless we want to show the world we have hatred for everyone.

    Such hatred.... so tired of it.

    September 1, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. New Age Independent

    Insensitive? That's about the dumbest thing I have heard in a very long time. It's been 8 months people! Did liberals also protest guns being sold during this time? Or is it just when it's connected to the GOP in any way at all? All I see are a bunch of liberals that feel the need to fabricate any excuse in order to bash the opposing party in an election year. Simply pathetic.

    September 1, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. John

    So you'd be okay with a gun raffle if she had been assaulted with a baseball bat, right? If she had been assaulted with a baseball bat, then Little League games would have to be suspended out of respect for her injuries.

    September 1, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |