ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A Republican Missouri state legislator from the St. Louis area plans to hold a fundraiser where he will raffle off one of the same type of weapons used by James Holmes in last week’s deadly Colorado movie theater shooting.
Rep. John McCaherty (R-High Ridge) planned the fundraiser just before Friday’s shooting that left 12 people dead and several others injured.
McCaherty’s campaign fundraiser, Ray Brockman, said the raffle for an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle is part of an August 27 fundraising dinner.
Raffle tickets for the gun, which was reportedly donated by the National Rifle Association, cost $25.
Some critics have come down hard on the representative due to the timing of the event.
“The timing was horrible, but it was planned so far in advance,” he told News 4 on Thursday. “It had nothing to do with Colorado, still has nothing to do with Colorado…We’ve been planning this since April.”
He says he’s not forgetting about what happened, but doesn’t think people’s rights should be voided.
“My team is praying for the folks, praying for the families,” he said. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through, but it doesn’t negate the fact that people have a right to purchase firearms.”
McCaherty reiterated he’s not going to change his schedule based on the actions of one individual.
“Are we the type of society that we have to stop doing everything because somebody was an idiot?” he asked.
But when talking to News 4’s Emily Rau, McCaherty did seem to understand the critical backlash.
“So you feel like it’s different for you because you’re an elected official,” Rau asked.
“I could see that,” McCaherty responded.
In an email sent to supporters, McCaherty encouraged his supporters to continue selling raffle tickets.
Here is the email:
There has been a lot of interest in the AR 15, especially since the shootings in CO.
Let me begin by saying there are some bad people in the world that will use weapons of any type for bad things, and we are praying for those who were injured, and the families of those who lost loved ones in CO. Still there is no way for the government to make everyone safe...if we outlaw everything that can hurt someone, we would have nothing left. I believe those that commit such horrible acts should be dealt with immediately, and with all the justice system has to throw at them.
I have been contacted by several news sources, all of which are looking for someone to hang all of the problems of the US on...which I am not interested in being their scapegoat...So...
If anyone from the media contacts you about the tickets, please forward them to me. However, I will not be doing any media comments about this event at all...the less attention we give them the quicker they move on to the next story. The families affected do not need the media beating them up, or drawing out the story anymore. So please....Do not answer any questions about the event at all.
We will continue to sell the “Event Tickets” as planned, and they still do not need to be present for any “drawings” that take place at the event. Please sell the tickets primarily by word of mouth....
We are changing the word “raffle” to “Drawing” since the purchase of a ticket also includes the dinner and auction on Aug. 27th, and the person will be added into the drawing for the AR. For those of you not familiar with the rifle, it is used primarily for target shooting, hunting, and self defense.
God Bless, Rep. John C. McCaherty