Chester County sheriffs to auction off AR-15 rifle

April 30, 2013 3:35:33 PM PDT
Two guns are up for a charity raffle in Chester County and not everyone is thrilled about the idea.

The Chester County sheriff's group fundraiser is raising eyebrows.

The annual Wildlife Dinner scheduled for May 13th includes a raffle for $100 and two guns - a rifle and a Colt AR-15. similar to the one used in last year's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"I do understand. It's a sensitive issue with a lot of people. I do understand," Sheriff Carolyn Welsh said.

Sheriff Welsh says the event has been planned for months and the guns were donated.

The money from the fundraiser goes to funding the department's K-9 unit this year. Each dog costs about $6,000 to train, none of which comes from taxpayer funds.

"The funds that we raise through something like this enable us to provide this law enforcement tool," Welsh said.

Some in the county have voiced concern.

"There is no place for those big guns on the streets and for the sherrif's department to be putting them back out there is unacceptable," Cinda Russell-Reese of West Chester said.

"I think it's absolutely inappropriate to auction off guns," Kate Norris of West Chester sadi.

"I think it's the wrong thing you're trying to raise money with," Lou Esgro of West Chester said.

Sherriff Welsh says there is no need to be concerned. She says whoever wins the gun is still subject to normal gun laws. The winner will undergo a background check before getting the gun.

"It's a legal weapon to be transferred legally to a law abiding citizen," Welsh said.

Sheriff Welsh says she is a big supporter of gun safety and responsible gun ownership. She tells Action News she has only received two calls complaining and the department plans to go forward with the raffle.

The raffle will be held at the Downingtown Country Club on May 13. Tickets are $20.