New Hampshire police chiefs raffle off assault rifles

Ruger SR 556c
Ruger SR 556

A New Hampshire police association’s gun raffle created a national firestorm of opposition — and gained a few admirers in the process

About a three-hour drive from the New York state capitol of Albany is Derry, N.H., home to the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police. But the two states are light years apart on the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

On Jan. 16, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed what may be the nation’s toughest gun law, outright banning certain types of weapons and magazines and requiring owners to register their firearms.

Meanwhile, in neighboring New Hampshire, the police chiefs decided to hold “a gun a day” raffle to finance their annual cadet-training program. New Hampshire is home to gun makers Sturm Ruger and Sig Sauer, and both agreed to help out with prizes.

Announced in October, the Month of Firearms raffle will be held throughout the entire month of May, according to the organization’s website.

Although the tickets are a bit pricey — $30 apiece — all 1,000 tickets had been sold by Jan. 12, according to The New York Times. Each day in May, a new winner of raffled rifles and handguns will be announced. The May 1 prize will be a Ruger SR 556c. On May 31, it’ll be a Sig Sauer 716 Patrol. Both are AR-15-styled assault rifles.

Once word got out, gun control advocates, lawmakers and the media erupted into a frenzy. The Nashua Telegraph called it “one big misfire.”

Some are objecting to the fact that police chiefs were the ones who put the raffle together.

“I think in some respects, it shows the wrong message,” New Hampshire state Rep. Stephen Shurtleff, a Democrat, told the Seattle Times.

The outcry prompted the association’s president, Police Chief Paul T. Donovan, to post a press release on the group’s website, saying:

The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police has recently drawn criticism as a result of a legal fundraiser that began in October 2012. The fundraiser called “a month of firearms” involves the selling of raffle tickets to win a firearm each day during the month of May, 2013.

The website, NHCHIEFSOFPOLICE.COM; advertises the contest, and rules stipulate that winners are required to meet all applicable laws, and BATF rules for firearm ownership and possession. The Chiefs worked closely with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s office to ensure this fundraiser followed all
applicable rules and regulations prior to commencing the sale of the first ticket.

While this raffle falls on the heels of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police extends their deepest sympathies to the families and first responders.

New Hampshire Chiefs of Police feel the issues with these tragic shootings are ones that are contrary to lawful and responsible gun ownership. We believe in and support the Second Amendment, and encourage education in the area of firearms safety.

The difference in attitude between New York and New Hampshire can be found in each state’s motto. New York’s is “Excelsior,” meaning, “upward.” New Hampshire’s is “Live free or die.”

I’m not sure what “upward” is supposed to mean, other than maybe that’s where the Obama/Biden re-election team got the idea for “forward.” I do, however, know what “live free or die” means.

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