Missouri lawmaker plans AR-15 gun raffle

2012-07-25T17:03:00Z 2012-08-14T20:15:33Z Missouri lawmaker plans AR-15 gun raffleBY ELIZABETH CRISP • ecrisp@post-dispatch.com > 573-635-6178 stltoday.com

JEFFERSON CITY • A Missouri lawmaker is drawing attention for the unfortunate timing of his gun raffle fundraiser next month.

The Sunlight Foundation has posted an invitation for state Rep. John McCaherty’s Aug. 27 fundraiser, which will feature the raffle of an AR-15 rifle. Unfortunately for the High Ridge Republican, the gun is the same model as one allegedly used in last week's shooting at a Colorado movie theater that left 12 dead and 58 injured.

The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit group that focuses on government transparency. The organization's Political Party Time blog focuses on campaign social events and urges people to send event details and invitations to post.

Tickets for McCaherty’s raffle are $25 a piece, according to an event invitation that the blog posted online. The flyer also boasts that the gun is Missouri-made and only 200 tickets will be sold.

UPDATE: Fired Up! Missouri has posted an email apparently sent by McCaherty's campaign this afternoon in response to the raffle attention.

In the email, McCaherty says that he plans to ignore media questions about the event and urges his supporters to do the same.

"(T)he less attention we give them the quicker they move on to the next story," the email reads. "The families affected do not need the media beating them up, or drawing out the story anymore. So please....Do not answer any questions about the event at all."

He adds that the event - now dubbed a "drawing" instead of "raffle" - will go on as planned at that supporters should sell tickets for it "primarily by word of mouth."

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Several Missouri politicians have been reflecting on gun control and tragedy in the days since the mass shooting at the Aurora, Colo. movie theater.

Here is a round-up of some of their remarks:

House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones, a Republican from Eureka who is in line to be the next House speaker, talked about the shooting during a roundtable discussion on Mark Reardon’s radio show Friday.

“I think we should pause and recognize how fragile life really is,” he said. “This is one of those moments were we should go home and hug our children tonight and just remember just how fragile life is.”

Jones also reflected on the media’s handling of such coverage.

“I think there should be no rush to judgement by anyone,” he said.

He went on to compare is views of how the media has covered Colorado suspect James Holmes with the 2009 Fort Hood shooting suspect U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan in Texas. ABC News issued an apology after a reporter incorrectly drew a possible connection between Holmes and the Tea Party:

“The media didn’t want to talk about (Hasan’s) relationships, his connections, his ties, what he may or may not have been involved in, but as soon as it’s a white male there seems to be a predisposition to want to tar that person as ‘tea party,’” Jones said.

Jones said he thinks the majority of Missourians “favor expanding the Second Amendment.”

“Bad people are going to do bad things and they are going to find a way to do it,” he said.

From the other side of the aisle, state Rep. Stacey Newman, D-St. Louis, released a statement, expressing her sympathy for the Colorado victims and blasting the National Rifle Association and its allies. She said the NRA's influence on the Missouri Legislature is "unmistakable."

“As a Million Mom Marcher who has worked since 2000 to prevent needless gun violence, I am outraged that the gun lobby has continued to negatively influence our Legislature. Instead of passing sensible gun laws, the NRA has taken our Legislature hostage with the passage of less restrictive and less prohibitive firearm laws. The gun lobby has consistently turned their backs on efforts to pass common sense legislation which could save lives," she said. "Their motive is simple - increase gun manufacturers profits. Tragedies like the Colorado theater shooting should not happen in civilized society. They happen because legislatures let the NRA write our gun laws."

Meanwhile, House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, a Republican who is running for secretary of state this year, found a personal connection to the tragedy: “Aurora is where my mother grew up and a place I visited often when I was growing up. Our prayers go out to all the victims their families and loved ones,” he said in a statement. “There are no words of comfort during such a senseless act of horrific violence. Rather in the face of this evil act let this be a reminder that we can all do better at showing love for others, trying to help others, and living our lives in such a way that others will want to do the same and make a difference for the better.”

Elizabeth Crisp covers Missouri politics.

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