The Republican Party in Arizona’s Pima County, which is represented by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), is in the midst of a fundraising raffle, $10 per entry.
The prize: the same model of gun that delivered a near-fatal blast to the Democratic lawmaker’s skull outside a Tucson grocery store in January.
Tucson is in Pima County.
The local party sent out its e-newsletter late last week advertising the raffle. On the third page of the seven-page document, a large illustration of the gun appears with the headline “Help Pima GOP get out the vote and maybe help yourself to a new Glock .40.”
“Tickets will go quickly for this firearm!” the blurb in the newsletter warns.
The $1,250 raised from the raffle tickets will go toward get out the vote efforts for the party.
The gun is a Glock 23, an updated model of the Glock 19 Jared Loughner used during his January 8, 2011 shooting spree that killed six and injured 13 others, including Giffords.
Caroline Brewer, communications director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, condemned the raffle.
“I think it sends a terrible message,” she told Raw Story. “I think it’s an incredible lack of sensitivity toward Gabrielle Giffords and all the victims and families of the victims in Tucson. This was an unprecedented tragedy for Tucson and for our nation, and we are just stunned that this group of people would think that this was appropriate and something that was worthy of doing. There’s so many items that could be raffled off to raise money.”
Pima County GOP did not respond to requests for comment.
Brian Miller, the immediate past chair of the Pima County GOP, told Talking Points Memo that while he has raffled off guns as fundraisers before, to do so now is insensitive and inappropriate.
“There’s a woman who has a bullet in the brain and who everybody is wishing a full recovery,” Miller said. “I don’t think that raffling off a firearm right now is probably the right way to go.”
According to USA Today, the Federal Election Commission is expected to allow Giffords to use campaign money to make the security improvements around her house recommended by the Capitol Police.
Giffords was released from the hospital in June and made a dramatic return to Congress to cast a vote in favor of President Barack Obama’s debt ceiling deal in early August. No Republican has officially been announced to run against her in 2012, but state senator Frank Antenori (R) said that he was contemplating running for the seat if Giffords did not attempt reelection.
Gun-related rhetoric and fundraisers aren’t unusual for Republicans. Not only did Sarah Palin urge for her supporters to “reload” and “aim” for Democratic lawmakers in 2010 — including Giffords — but the Republican Party in Oregon raffled an AR-15 assault rifle at the 2010 Oregon State Fair and a Carroll County Maryland GOP official resigned in 2000 over his party’s fundraising raffle for a Berretta 9mm pistol. A weapons manufacturer also produced a limited-edition run of engraved gun supplies commemorating South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson’s “you lie” interruption of Obama’s September 2009 address to Congress.
Pima County GOP, the Arizona Republican Party and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office did not respond to Raw Story’s requests for comment as of publication time.
This story has been edited since its original publication to include new information.