A church in New York state raffled off a pre-modified AR-15 last Sunday and plans to give another one away tonight.
Grace Baptist Church in Troy, NY made international headlines earlier this month when they announced the giveaway. The church’s pastor John Koletas preaches about Second Amendment rights, and hoped the event would bring more people, including hunters to the church’s Sunday services. It most certainly did.
One of those people was the lucky winner, Ron Stafford, a 42-year-old hunter and sport shooter from Schenectady, NY. Stafford told Fox News that he drove 25 miles to attend the service.
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“Actually, I went on a whim,” Stafford said. “I wanted to see what this was all about. I found out about it a month ago and I wanted to exercise my God-given right.”
Stafford won a pre-modified Smith & Wesson M&P15, which also made headlines earlier this year. The rifle is an AR-15 platform that has military-style features that are illegal under the state’s SAFE Act. NY gunmakers figured out a way to make the rifle compatible with the law by attaching a fixed stock and grip.
“We’re not breaking the law,” Koletas told CBS News. “We’re not doing anything illegal.”
According to Fox News, Koletas received several death threats for holding the rifle giveaways, but that hasn’t stopped him from going through with tonight’s contest. The church will hold another AR-15 giveaway at 7 pm. Both tonight’s raffle winner and Stafford will have to pass a federal background check and screening by the Troy Police Department before they can claim their rifles.
Grace Baptist isn’t the only church to make headlines this year for giving away free guns. The Kentucky Baptist Convention frequently holds Second Amendment Celebrations that feature gun giveaways at churches in Kentucky.
What do you think about giving guns away at church? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.