@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Gun rights group raffles rifle, picture of Hillary Clinton

Posted September 28, 2016 5:34 p.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2016 6:44 p.m. EDT

— A vocal gun rights group is raffling off an AR-15 rifle, 1,000 rounds of ammunition and a portrait of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton to raise money for its federal political action committee.

"Of course, we won’t tell you what to do with the photo, but when we ran a picture of Hillary on the front of our newsletter, we heard it was very popular at the range," Grass Roots North Carolina's web page publicizing the raffle reads. The post predicts there will be "panic buying" if Clinton is elected, meaning "there won’t be a gun (or ammunition) available for love nor money" if the Democrat wins.

Money raised from the drawing, which will be held on Election Day, will go to the group's political victory fund and, according to the group's website, will be used to make independent expenditures against "anti-gunners" such as gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper and U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Ross, both of whom are Democrats.

Grass Roots NC is a frequent presence at the General Assembly, calling for fewer restrictions on the ability to purchase and carry firearms.

Update: Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots NC, tells WRAL News that ticket sales are coming in "briskly." He said attention the group has received over the past 24 hours from writers for national media outlets who perceive the fundraiser as an implicit threat against Clinton is unwarranted.

"No reasonable person with a basic understanding of the English language could possible construe any sort of threat or encouragement from that basic message," Valone said Thursday.

Meanwhile, Peter Ambler, executive director of Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, which was formed by former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, said the raffle is ill-conceived.

"This dangerous stunt just further degrades the debate on gun safety that our country needs," Ambler said in an email. "North Carolina voters and law-abiding gun owners everywhere deserve a lot better."