“The mission of the United Way is to mobilize the power of communities worldwide and to advance the common good. 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.”
Those were the words of Miranda Viscoli, co-president of New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, in a letter to United Way Worldwide. It was sent after 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.
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. The local UW organization has now suspended the raffle—but Kerry Maupin, Western True Value Store manager, says they have done contests according to firearm laws on many occasions. He added, “I believe this person who is perpetrating this is causing harm to this [United Way] organization and the community. We as a community are going to have to stand up.”