Maryland: "A large-caliber fund-raiser"


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cuchulainn
August 27, 2003, 09:23 AM
from the Baltimore Sun

http://www.sunspot.net/news/local/bal-te.md.raffle27aug27,0,149534.story?coll=bal-home-headlinesA large-caliber fund-raiser

By Stephanie Desmon
Sun Staff
Originally published August 27, 2003

JEFFERSON - In Frederick County, four volunteer fire companies have joined together for what is believed to be the largest raffle of its kind in the state: a gun-a-day giveaway for the year 2004.

What might raise a few eyebrows among city folk is increasingly common practice in rural Maryland - and a big money-maker to boot.

For the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department, which exists mostly on donations, its expected $35,000 share will make this gun raffle the largest fund-raiser the company has ever had, far surpassing the fish fries, pancake breakfasts and all-you-can-eat "feeds" that are standard fare here. It will go toward building new bunk rooms, bathrooms and meeting space atop the firehouse.

"We're a small-time volunteer fire company," said Eddie Lapole, Jefferson's assistant chief. "We're trying to make ends meet."

What makes this unique is its scale. Other nonprofit groups have held smaller gun raffles. But they haven't before offered 366 guns in a year, 2004 being a leap year.

For $30, you can buy one of the Sportsman's Calendars being sold by fire companies in Brunswick, Jefferson, Emmitsburg and Wolfsville. Each of the 10,000 copies has a small red number on the back page - 0000 to 9999. Every day starting Jan. 1, when the Maryland Lottery draws its Pick 4 winner, that number will determine who wins that day's weapon.

No handguns are being given away, just a wide variety of rifles and shotguns for hunting. And to claim the prize, each winner must submit to a standard background check performed by an Emmitsburg gun shop where the guns will be kept. If the winner chooses, a $100 prize can be claimed instead. The guns being purchased by the fire departments are worth significantly more than that.

It's all perfectly legal, say organizers and state officials.

"Everyone took it the wrong way when the word first got out," said David Young, the Brunswick fire company's financial secretary. "It's sportsmen's guns. It's not like they're illegal guns. They're guns for hunters."

When the raffle was announced, a Hagerstown television station ran a piece on it and then took a poll of viewers. As Lapole recalls, he was "tickled" to hear that 79 percent were for it, only 21 percent against.

"There have not been any protests or concerns or letters to the editor," said Wayne Powell, public information officer for the Vigilant Hose Co., Emmitsburg's volunteers. "Guns are just a routine part of life. Any house you walk into in a rural setting, it's more common than not that you'll find guns."

Calendar sales have been brisk. Each company has been charged with selling 2,500, and most report they are well on their way - with four months to go before a .22-caliber Ruger Hornet is given away on New Year's Day.

Lapole tells of a recent phone call from a man who wanted to buy 20 calendars for his friends and family. Lapole thinks they make great Christmas gifts.

"Around here there's a lot of gun enthusiasts and a lot of hunters. They seek us out for the calendars once we advertise," said Tim Clarke, president of the Emmitsburg fire company.

Frederick County Sheriff James W. Hagy said he isn't "the least bit uncomfortable" with the notion of a public safety agency putting 366 more guns into circulation.

This is hunting country, he said. Guns and hunting are part of the fabric of a community fighting to hold onto its rural roots even as growth encroaches from the south and east.

"Guns have gotten such a terrible connotation to them because people think guns are designed just to kill people," Hagy said. "In our county, they're used for sporting purposes or for hunting purposes. If you go back to Cain and Abel they didn't have guns but one killed the other. ...

"There's probably not a lot of good reasons to have guns in the big cities," he said. "Here in the rural counties, it's kind of hard to imagine using the guns except for what they're designed for."

Don't tell that to Leah Barrett, executive director of CeaseFire Maryland, formerly Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse. "We're very worried by this kind of phenomenon," Barrett said of the ever-expanding gun raffles. "Our attitude about all of this is, surely there have to be more intelligent ways to raise money. This country is certainly saturated with guns as it is."

Thousands of accidental gun deaths occur each year, she said, and each new gun in the public domain increases the risk.

"Let's just use some common sense here," said the Montgomery County mother.

Even though the winners of the raffle are based on lottery numbers, it has no affiliation with the state agency that runs the lottery. But it is perfectly legal to use those numbers - many groups do when looking for random digits - as long as permits are in place, said Andrea D. Johnson, an associate state attorney general and principal counsel to the Maryland Lottery.

"Once the numbers are drawn, they become public information," she said.

The lottery prefers that a disclaimer is printed on raffle tickets - or on calendars in this case, she said. The simple calendars, with pictures of equipment used by each fire company featured, were printed before officials learned of any desire for a disclaimer, fire officials said.

"They may think it's a promotion of the Maryland Lottery," Johnson said. "We have nothing to do with them. In the event there is any fraud, [a buyer] could say, 'Well, we thought there was a state endorsement.'"

The success of the calendars has already sparked plans to run the raffle again in 2005, Brunswick's Young said, and only reinforces what people in these parts knew about such fund-raisers: Guns mean big money.

"You'd be surprised how many gun raffles go on in a year's time, not only in our county," said Emmitsburg's Clarke. "They're ongoing in every community."

Copyright © 2003, The Baltimore Sun

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Gunfyter
August 27, 2003, 10:33 AM
I bought my calendar at an ox roast. Great fundraiser and a good chance to win a gun. :D

greyhound
August 27, 2003, 11:30 AM
Don't tell that to Leah Barrett, executive director of CeaseFire Maryland, formerly Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse. "We're very worried by this kind of phenomenon," Barrett said of the ever-expanding gun raffles. "Our attitude about all of this is, surely there have to be more intelligent ways to raise money. This country is certainly saturated with guns as it is."

But wait, I thought they only wanted bans on handguns and "assault rifles", not hunting guns. I'm confused.

Oh wait, maybe these types of groups really do want to ban all guns, and its the career politicians who assure us that hunting rifles are safe.

Hey, notice how "CeaseFire Maryland" sounds like a "turn 'em all in, Mr. and Mrs. America" group, while "Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse" sounds kinda like a safety organization!

anapex
August 27, 2003, 12:11 PM
Anyone know any place close to Anne Arundel County where they are selling these? I'd like to pick one up. On a side note the anti-gunner is from Montgomery County, and that says more than enough about her stance on guns.

Gunfyter
August 27, 2003, 12:23 PM
They sell them here where I work in Frederick. If you really want one, PM me and we'll try and work something out.

TheEgg
August 27, 2003, 12:25 PM
:barf: :barf: :barf:

"Everyone took it the wrong way when the word first got out," said David Young, the Brunswick fire company's financial secretary. "It's sportsmen's guns. It's not like they're illegal guns. They're guns for hunters."

So, the only "legal" guns are guns used for hunting

:barf: :barf: :barf:

cpileri
August 27, 2003, 01:45 PM
Sure, but hunting for what?
Today I am hunting for pieces of paper with bullseyes on them.
Now, I'm hunting for a bag of chips at Super Fresh.
Hunting for gasoline? jogging to a place to go hunt? working so I have the money to go hunting? hunting politicians? skunks? snakes?

Sorry, those last 3 were redundant.
C-

Standing Wolf
August 27, 2003, 03:05 PM
This country is certainly saturated with guns as it is.

Wrong. The excess is leftist stupidity, not firearms.

Fly320s
August 27, 2003, 03:29 PM
So, can us non-Marylanders buy a ticket?

Do they have a mail-in process or is it limited in-person buying?

Gunfyter
August 27, 2003, 03:43 PM
I just talked with the girl here in the office and she will verify that they can be sold out of state. AFAIK, if you win, the prize will have to go thru a FFL dealer in your home town. Check back on Tuesday and I should have an exact answer by then.

Gunfyter
September 3, 2003, 01:57 PM
Ok, I have checked and the calendars can be sold to anyone who wants one. Just remember that if you win, it will go thru an FFL dealer. Anyone interested, PM me and I'll get you pointed in the right direction.

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