Gun raffle sparks debate between local political parties
MCLEAN COUNTY (WEEK) - McLean County Republicans are planning a party at the Normal CornBelters’ baseball game later this month and are welcoming the entire community, but not everyone was excited.
McLean County Democrats called out a big-ticket raffle item they felt was out of touch with recent events.
The GOP is raffling off a Rock Island 12-gauge shotgun in what the party calls a “Second Amendment Raffle.” Tickets are selling for $20 each. Democrats called this insensitive in the wake of the Highland Park massacre that killed seven people and wounded two dozen others at a Fourth of July parade.
“Hosting an event like this is in really poor taste and I just don’t know how they can go forward with an event like this,” said McLean County Democrats Chair Patrick Cortesi.
“I think they’re really out of touch of how the majority of Illinois thinks and feels about the issue and I think this is just another example of that,” Cortesi said.
Local Republicans said the two events were not related, and they believe the focus should have been on the mental health crisis instead.
“To try to connect the horror and the tragedy enacted by the individual, who is obviously mentally unstable, is to really ignore the real problem.” McLean County Republicans Chair Connie Beard said.
While Democrats claim the GOP was out of touch - the community seemed divided. Some said us they supported the raffle and saw no issue, while others argued it was not appropriate.
“In the current climate of the country, I don’t think that would be the smartest thing for anybody to do until we get some sort of gun control laws in place,” Normal resident Christopher Watkins said.
Raffle tickets are sold only to those 18 and older and they must have a firearm owner’s identification card to claim the rifle.
The gun will not be at the ballpark that night.
The raffle is part of McLean County Republicans Day Friday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. at The Corn Crib in Normal.
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