If anti-gunners want—as so many of them say they do—just to “keep guns out of the wrong hands” and to “make sure everybody that buys a gun has a background check,” then why do they hate gun raffles so much?
Consider a couple of recent examples.
In late July, Oregon Reverend Jeremy Lucas used $3,000 in “discretionary” church funds to buy half the tickets in a raffle for an AR-15. Lucas was disturbed by the raffle, sponsored by a girls’ softball team to raise money for a California tournament, and planned to win the gun and destroy it.
“I want to live in a world where a girls’ softball team doesn’t have to raffle off a gun because it’s the quickest way to make money,” Lucas said. “I happen to believe that the world is going to be a better place when there are fewer guns in it.”
After winning the gun, Lucas boasted about all the lives he would supposedly save by keeping that gun “off the streets.”In effect, Lucas’ publicity stunt did nothing more than keep one lucky law-abiding American from getting a good deal on a gun.
“This one gun will never be used to kill anyone in a school, in a nightclub, anywhere else,” Lucas said. “It will never be used to terrorize anyone, it will never be used for anything destructive. That’s the one thing I can do.”
In truth, it wasn’t going to do any of those things. Lucas’ one-man crusade—using his parishioners’ money—was nothing more than grandstanding by a do-gooder seeking publicity. And here’s why.
Had someone other than Lucas won the raffle, that winner would have been required to pass an FBI background check in order to take possession of the gun, just as Lucas was required to do. By doing so, that person would have proven he or she was a law-abiding citizen and deserved to have his or her Second Amendment rights recognized.
In effect, Lucas’ publicity stunt did nothing more than keep one lucky law-abiding American from getting a good deal on a gun. Surely he wouldn’t really want to do that, would he? Isn’t he really concerned about violent criminals and murderers and such—not good, law-abiding citizens of Oregon?
But the more important point here is that each winner would have had to pass an FBI background check in order to take possession of the gun.Ironically, Lucas might have run afoul of Oregon’s ridiculous new background check law while undertaking his ill-conceived crusade. According to OregonLive.com, pastor Lucas gave the gun to a parishioner for safekeeping without conducting a background check.
Spurred by Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety, Oregon instituted a new law in 2015 that requires any transfer of a firearm to go through a background check; the law bars even temporary lending of a firearm without one. Oregon State Police have not yet declared if they will charge Lucas, but if convicted, he could face a maximum fine of $6,250 and up to a year in jail.
While NRA opposed the law precisely because it would turn lawful gun owners like Lucas into criminals, we can’t help but notice the irony when its backers find themselves snared in webs of their own making.
Another example of this illogical aversion to law-abiding Americans winning firearms that they could easily go right out and buy can be seen in an even more recent fiasco in New Mexico.
The United Way of Otero County and Western True Value sold calendars with raffle entries to win more than 100 firearms—including an AR-15 rifle. This drew a harsh response last week from New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence Co-President Miranda Viscoli, who also apparently has a serious problem with law-abiding Americans who have passed background checks acquiring firearms.If it sounds to you like maybe these anti-gun zealots are lying about what they really want, then maybe you are on to something.
“The mission of the United Way is to mobilize the power of communities worldwide and to advance the common good,” Viscoli whined. “They were raffling off an AR-15 assault weapon. Those AR-15s are designed for one thing—to kill as many people as quickly as possible. It has nothing to do with that mission.”
Of course, the AR-15 rifle is the most popular rifle in America, and is used by many for sport shooting, hunting and self-defense. Moreover, rifles of all kind are used in less than 3 percent of all murders.
But the more important point here is that each winner would have had to pass an FBI background check in order to take possession of the gun. So again, all Viscoli and her fellow gun haters managed to do was hinder law-abiding Americans. In truth, those same people can now walk right down to a gun shop and buy the very same gun they had hoped to win—it’ll just require more money out of their pockets.
If it sounds to you like maybe these anti-gun zealots are lying about what they really want, then maybe you are on to something. That’s why it’s easy to be suspicious when they say they only want so-called “universal” background checks, or just want to keep “guns off the streets.”
Trying to stop or sabotage raffles that simply allow vetted, law-abiding Americans to win a gun—which they would have to pass a background check in order to take possession of—can’t be considered any kind of serious attempt at fighting crime. In truth, these are just a few more examples of gun haters trying to make it harder for law-abiding Americans to practice their Second Amendment rights—a tactic that gun-ban advocates seem to be getting better and better at every day.