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Ill-advised Gun Raffle Bill would hurt volunteer fire departments, community organizations

Posted 27 March 2019 at 7:30 am

Editor:

When it comes to carving away at Second Amendment rights in Albany, there is always a multitude of consequences that, unfortunately, are often not considered by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who introduce these measures. That is certainly the case for legislation that would prohibit firearms from being awarded as prizes in charity raffles.

Currently, if a gun is included as a prize in a charity raffle, the raffle must adhere to the same safeguards and legal requirements of any gun purchase or transfer of ownership. In fact, here in Western New York some raffles bring an on-site dealer who is capable of providing the legally-required background checks before any guns are awarded. The system is safe.

These types of raffles help support not-for-profit charities, like conservation clubs or veterans posts, which do so much good in our entire community. They bring awareness of the organization to the community-at-large, encourage membership, and support the organization’s projects – projects like new park benches, playgrounds, and much more.

Furthermore, these raffles support those that keep us safe, like volunteer fire companies. As a strong supporter of our volunteer firefighters, I can tell you how hard they work night and day to protect our loved ones and property. As volunteers, they save taxpayers millions of dollars annually. Yet, on top of volunteering their time, energy and often their own money on training, gear, recruitment, community events, fire prevention education, emergency response, and manning the station in the event of a fire, they must still find the time and effort to fundraise in order to keep the fire stations in order and up to code.

This legislation would negatively impact so many community organizations, but it would have a devastating effect on our volunteer fire companies. Please know that should this bill come to a vote, I will vote against it and continue to advocate for measures to support the people who volunteer to make our community a better, safer and happier place to call home.

State Assemblyman Michael Norris

Lockport

(Norris represents the 144th Assembly District which includes portions of Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties.)