RI GOP to raffle semiautomatic rifle

Rhode Island Republicans will be raffling off gift certificates, food and semiautomatic weapons at a fundraising event on Sunday.

One of the prizes is an AR-15 rifle, which was used by gunmen in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., to kill innocent people.

"We have over 80 prizes in the raffle. Yes, one of the prizes is an AR-15," said Steven Tetzner of the Rhode Island Republican Party.

Tetzner owns an AR-15 himself. He said he thought raffling one off would sell a lot of tickets. So far, he was right.

"Our phones are ringing off the hook. People are calling to buy raffle tickets," Tetzner said.

The AR-15 sells from $700 to $3,000, but someone will win one for the price of a $5 raffle ticket. Every penny of the raffle will go toward helping Republicans in future elections.

"It is irresponsible with everything that is going on. I don't understand why a semiautomatic is being raffled off when it could have been a shotgun or a hunting gun," said Heidi Waldron, who opposes the raffle.

Waldron lives down the street from where the raffle will be held. She's a proud gun owner on her 112-acre West Greenwich horse farm and a proponent of the Second Amendment, but not this raffle.

"It's not about not having guns. It's about the responsibility of the type of gun," Waldron said.

The winner of the AR-15 will still have to go through standard background checks and get a license to own the gun before walking away with it -- but at a fraction of what it costs to purchase one in a store.