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Albemarle police chief to raffle AR-15 for fundraiser

By Chris Moore

Stanly News & Press

ALBEMARLE — In a fundraiser for a children’s charity, Albemarle Police Chief David Dulin is promoting a raffle of an AR-15 rifle — the same weapon used to wound six police officers in Philadelphia last Wednesday.

Although the AR-15 is not classified as an assault weapon, it has been used in numerous mass shootings, including those in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; Parkland, Florida; San Bernardino, California; and Las Vegas. More recently, an AR-15-type rifle was used by a shooter who opened fire in a Dayton, Ohio, entertainment district Aug. 4, killing nine people and wounding dozens more.

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, AR-15s are not classified as assault weapons because they are not fully automatic. The “AR” in the name stands for ArmaLite rifle after the company that created it in the 1950s.

Last week, a post was published on the Facebook account Dulin shares with his wife advertising the raffle for “Dancing With the Stars,” a fundraiser for the Butterfly House, a child abuse advocacy center in Albemarle. The Dulins are partnering with Scoot’s Place, a gun shop in Albemarle.

Tickets for the raffle are $20 each. A flier for the fundraiser indicates that those interested in the raffle must comply with state and federal laws to participate.

“People are the ones that kill. It’s not guns,” said Dulin, who has been chief since April and with the department for almost 25 years.

Jane Boone, executive director of the Stanly Health Foundation and organizer of Dancing With the Stars, said this is not the first year there has been a gun raffle for the fundraiser. She said AR-15s and similar weapons have been given away before.

“Teams decide their own fundraisers and the best way that they can raise money,” Boone said. “That’s just one that was chosen.”

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is a national organization that has been advocating for gun reform since 1974. Andrew Patrick, media director for the organization, said the gun raffle is an insult to people who lost their lives in mass shootings recently.

“In the last two weeks, we’ve seen these AR-15s and other similar types of weapons have been used to inflict incredible harm,” Patrick said.

Patrick cited the recent shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, when a shooter opened fire. Three people were killed, including a 3-year-old boy.

“The weapon was firing for less than a minute,” Patrick said. “Raffling it off to help a children’s organization just speaks to the level of tone deafness that exists in the community.”

Patrick said the AR-15 is the most common weapon used in mass shootings. He cited the example of the shooter in Dayton, who used an AR-15-type rifle to shoot 26 people in less than 30 seconds.

“It’s used because it’s very effective at killing as many people in as short amount of time as possible,” Patrick said. “That’s a gun that should not be available to the general public.”

The main mission of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is to persuade politicians to implement evidence-based gun legislation.

Last week, Gov. Roy Cooper signed executive orders directing the State Bureau of Investigation to update the criminal background check system.

Last year, Cooper asked the agency to look closer at the way the state shares information. Through this effort, more than 284,000 criminal convictions were uncovered that had previously not been reported.

In an interview with the News & Observer last week, Cooper said he hopes this will be a positive step in enacting stricter gun legislation.

Boone said there are no plans to remove the raffle. If there is an outcry from the public, Boone said, officials will take a closer look at the situation.

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