Multnomah County GOP finds raffling rifle good way to raise $$$

PORTLAND, Ore. - For $10 you could win a semi-automatic rifle.

The Republican Party of Multnomah County is raffling an AR-15 to raise money. The raffle kicked off two weeks ago and out of 500 tickets, there's less than 100 now available.

"It's been very popular," said party chairman Jeff Reynolds on Tuesday. "To be frank, we could not make as much money with a TV as we could with an AR-15."

They've tried other kinds of fundraisers, but this one has really gotten their members to pull out their wallets.

Reynolds and Vice Chair Anne Marie Gurney acknowledged giving away a rifle would be controversial.

But people don't get that energized when schools hold bake sales or churches plan car washes. And selling raffle tickets for a semi-automatic rifle is better business than selling t-shirts, campaign signs or seats at a fancy gala.

"A lot of people are very concerned their gun rights are going to be taken away," Reynolds said. "We went for the one that would grab the most eyeballs."

He said the party is trying to raise money to run its operations and get candidates elected.

The AR-15 is the same weapon that was used in the Clackamas Town Center shooting that killed Steve Forsyth and Cindy Yuille. Kristina Shevchenko, 15, was badly injured.

"And if one of the security guards had had (an AR-15) on him, he could have taken out (the shooter)," Reynolds said.

He said all the negative reaction to the raffle has been in the press; however, he said he has had people complain that the raffle doesn't include the rifle's ammunition.

The winning ticket will be drawn at a meeting next Monday. Whoever wins the rifle will have to pass a background check.

This isn't the first rifle raffle this year. In March, the St. Helens Softball League held a similar event. Some parents were upset. But it was so successful the league held a second raffle within days.

Organizers were raising money for new equipment and field renovation. And they said they plan on doing a rifle raffle again.