The state Republican party is taking heat for its choice of raffle prizes in an upcoming fund-raiser, and the party’s chair, Warren resident Mark Smiley, is in the crosshairs for much of that anger.
Attendees at a GOP fund-raiser scheduled for Saturday in West Greenwich can buy a $5 raffle ticket and be entered to win an AR-15 assault rifle. The semi-automatic weapon is the civilian version of the military’s M16 rifle. Also being auctioned are a Smith and Wesson M&P 15 and a Berretta .357 single action pistol. Lesser prizes include hundreds of rounds of ammo, gift certificates to a shooting supply store, and other items.The fund-raiser will be held at the South County Rod and Gun Club, and is being dubbed “Rhode Island’s 2nd Amendment Celebration.”
“The people who support the Second Amendment are very passionate about it,” Mr. Smiley said in an interview with the Providence Journal. The show is a way for them to support the “more constitutional” party.
The fund-raiser has not gone unnoticed. Facebook was flooded with complaints yesterday from Warren and beyond.
“Gotta be proud” about a Warren resident being at the center of it all, one Facebook poster from Warren noted sarcastically.
Mr. Smiley is also the former chairman of the Warren Republican Town Committee.
A reader sent the following clarification and asked that it be added to the article:
“The AR15 is used in both regional and national target competition. It is also an excellent hunting rifle available in a variety of calibers as required for particular hunts. Although it may look like a Military firearm, it is not a military firearm. It is not an “assault weapon.” The AR15 is the “modern sporting rifle.”
Most politicians and anti-gunners are very ignorant about guns. Please refrain from calling the AR15 an “assault rifle.” Please publish a correction to name the AR15 the “modern sporting rifle” that it is.