Forget quilts and cookies, the Pima County Republican Party in Arizona is auctioning off a handgun at their next party fundraiser. And not just any handgun, the same series of pistol that was used in the Tucson shooting of Rep. Gabriel Giffords in January.
“Help Pima County get out the vote and maybe help yourself to a new Glock .45. Get yourself a new Glock 23 .40 cal handgun for just 10 bucks- if your name is draw. That’s right for just 10 dollars this gun could be yours,” reads the Pima GOP’s flyer that was sent to supporters Aug. 26.
The text is followed by a large photo of the handgun and a note that the gun comes with three 12-round magazines.
“This raffle shows a stunning lack of judgment and sensitivity in raffling of the same make of weapon used in the January shooting,” said Jeff Rogers, the chairman of the Pima Country Democratic Party. Pima County includes Tucson. “It’s a slap in the face of a grieving community.”
Rogers said the Glock 23 that the GOP plans to raffle off is a more powerful, more easily concealed version of the Glock 19 used to shoot Giffords.
“If these guys had chosen to raffle off a shotgun or a hunting rifle it might not have gone so nuts on the internet,” he said. “We’re pretty raw and still on edge down here and it certainly doesn’t help to heal this community.”
Pima GOP’s interim director Mark Shaw said “there weren’t any concerns” about the gun raffle until Alex Brant-Zawadzki, a citizen journalist with OfftheBus at the Huffington Post, reported about it Wednesday morning.
“We at the Pima GOP regard gun ownership as a constitutional right and an Arizona tradition,” Shaw said. “We’re just standing on the second amendment and we certainly don’t feel like we’re doing something wrong.”
But the former leader of the Pima County GOP told Talking Points Memo disagrees with his predecessor.
“There’s a woman who has a bullet in the brain and who everybody is wishing a full recovery,” Brian Miller, the immediate past chair of the Pima County GOP told TPM. “I don’t think that raffling off a firearm right now is probably the right way to go.”
Giffords, D-Ariz., is still recovering after being shot in the head by 22-year-old Jared Loughner in January. Six others were shot and killed at the open meeting the Congresswoman was holding at a Tucson Safeway grocery store.
Giffords’ spokesman Mark Kimble declined to comment on the gun raffle, saying only that “we don’t, as a Congressional office, get involved in political issues at all.”