The Washington State Republican Party plans to auction an AR-15 rifle at its annual fundraising dinner this weekend.
The popular semi-automatic weapon was used by Adam Lanza to kill 20 young children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last year.
Despite the high profile mass shooting, State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur apparently believes the rifle’s reputation hasn’t been significantly tarnished. He told The Seattle Times that he was aware of the controversy, but thought auctioning the rifle was appropriate.
“It’s also the best-selling weapon in America,” he said. “I own two, they have never killed an innocent person.”
Wilbur also told The Seattle Times that auctioning the rifle was intended as a “pro-fundraising” statement rather than a “pro-gun” statement. The AR-15 was donated by the Washington Arms Collectors, a group affiliated with the National Rifle Association.
Following Newtown and other mass shootings, proponents of stricter gun laws have sought to ban the AR-15 and other firearms they consider to be assault weapons.
The Washington State Republican Party has auctioned other weapons in the past, Wilbur said.
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