Booby prize

Gun raffle: Carroll Republican Party offends by making light of gun proliferation.

November 13, 1999

IF the raffle by Carroll County Republicans of a 9 mm pistol is as wildly successful as some anticipate, will the county GOP hold future drawings for shotguns, machetes or night sniper scopes?

At its next dinner, will organizers pass out party-favor bags filled with bullets and have centerpieces with tear-gas grenades instead of flowers?

Nothing is wrong with raffles. Churches, schools and service organizations hold them all the time. But these groups usually pay attention to the nature of the gifts they award.

Churches dont hold drawings for whiskey and cigars. Schools dont offer X-rated videos as prizes, last we looked.

These groups recognize these offerings would be unsuitable and would send the public the wrong message and subject them to scorn.

Carrolls GOP leadership, however, chose to ignore the implications of their gun raffle.

The party didnt want to offend anyone by buying a foreign-made gun. It carefully selected a high-quality, made-in-Maryland Beretta.

But buying domestic wont be enough to offset the damage Carroll County GOP did to its image. With school and office shootings dominating headlines, reasonable people on both sides of the gun-control issue recognize it is too easy to obtain a gun.

Instead of acknowledging this concern, the Carroll GOP proposes letting anyone with $5 gain a chance to obtain a deadly weapon.

The raffle reinforces the image that blind ideology dictates local GOP politics. Perhaps that shouldnt surprise in a county where the congressman and local commissioners have each rejected federal aid in the past, even to help out residents in emergencies, as if it weresome socialist plot.

If attracting new members is the partys ultimate goal, it has taken a self-defeating step. The raffle will repel anyone concerned about handgun proliferation.

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