Pima County Republicans are raffling off a Glock to raise money for get-out-the-vote efforts.
In their online newsletter last week, the heading read, “Help Pima GOP get out the vote and maybe help yourself to a new Glock.”
The announcement has a photo of the weapon, noting it comes with three 12-round magazines and a case.
Tickets are $10 each, with a cap of 125 tickets. “Tickets will go quickly for this firearm,” the newsletter cautions.
Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rogers called the raffle “a stunning lack of judgment and sensitivity” given the weapon is the same make used in the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting spree.
He called on the GOP to make the prize an iPad or a set of golf clubs “or anything that doesn’t conjure up images of that terrible day.”
Interim chairman Mike Shaw said he’s had no complaints, noting past gun raffles have been effective fundraisers and that responsible gun ownership is a constitutional right.
“There is absolutely no reason for anyone to think it is inappropriate,” he said.
The model of Glock is not the same as the one Jared Lee Loughner used in the rampage.The gun used by Loughner was a Glock 19. The weapon being raffled is a Glock 23.
Loughner faces 49 criminal counts in the mass shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including the apparent target of the shooting, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
James Kelley, the GOP’s Legislative District 29 chairman, said he advised his colleagues not to raffle the gun. He acknowledged the party has held gun raffles before without problems, "but post-Jan. 8 it's bad messaging and it's insensitive."
Kelley continued: “It doesn’t mean the Republican party doesn’t have an incredible record of supporting the Second Amendment, but at this point it’s ill-advised and I won’t stand with them on this.”
Loughner, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, remains in a prison hospital in Springfield, Mo., where officials are assessing whether he can be made competent for trial.
Republicans will elect their new party chairman next Thursday.
Contact reporter Rhonda Bodfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4243.