A tea party group in North Carolina is being criticized by local residents after it held a "machine gun social" to raise funds for conservative candidates.


WLOS reported that members of the tea party gathered in Brevard on Saturday to fire various machine guns for donations ranging from $25 to $50. The group said that the money raised would go to political advertising.

"Many attended included [sic] folks from SC, PA and FL and from across the state," Asheville Tea Party/PAC Chair Jane Bilello wrote on Facebook. "Economically, it brought needed dollars to the area. It was done with experts, with the proper equipment, and in a safe location. And, above all, we exercised our second amendment rights to help Constitutionally conservative candidates, iCaucus endorsed, to get elected."

"I believe in the many things that they are doing to try to keep America, 'America' with a capital 'A,'" attendee Rick Gilgis told WLOS. "They are patriotic and they want to preserve the freedoms that we enjoy, that our forefathers envisioned many years ago when they wrote that invaluable, timeless document, the U.S. Constitution."

But not everyone in Brevard was happy about the event.

"We live in a free country, we have the right to do many things that other people don't have the right to do," resident Ann Dergara said. "But, yes, I was shocked. Go join the Army if you want to shoot a machine gun. You're not going to shoot it around your house."

"I understand Second Amendment rights and that but I think, again, we need to do a little bit more to control guns in America," resident Howard Johnson opined.

Watch this video from WLOS via Ashvegas, broadcast Oct. 1, 2012.