Lincoln County GOP to raffle guns Saturday

These are some of the firearms that will be raffled at the Lincoln County Republican Party’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner on Saturday.
These are some of the firearms that will be raffled at the Lincoln County Republican Party’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner on Saturday. Lincoln County Republican Party via Facebook

For the second straight year, the Lincoln County Republican Party will raffle guns at its annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Lincolnton on Saturday.

Party officials say the “Ten Gun Raffle” proved more lucrative than the party’s past cake raffles.

“We just realized what people were more interested in,” party Chairman Jon Propst told The Gaston Gazette in January.

The raffle generated about $6,000 beyond the cost of the guns, Propst, a Lincoln County sheriff’s lieutenant, told the paper.

This year’s dinner also will feature appearances by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, N.C. Speaker of the House Tim Moore, R-Kings Mountain, and State Sen. Kathy Harrington, R-Gastonia.

The raffle will include handguns, an AR-15 rifle and a Henry Golden Boy lever-action .22 Magnum rifle, according to the party’s Facebook page.

A licensed dealer will help with paperwork involved in the transactions, although nothing in state law requires a dealer’s involvement.

Winners of the guns will have to go to the dealer to get their guns and have the paperwork filled out, Lincoln County sheriff’s Major Lee Caskey said Friday.

Involving a dealer helps guarantee that buyers of long guns Saturday will undergo federal background checks known as NICS checks.

Under N.C. law, anyone who buys a handgun must already have a license or permit from the sheriff of the county where they live or a valid North Carolina-issued concealed carry permit, according to a report on firearms laws by the N.C. Department of Justice’s law enforcement liaison section.

A different case exists with rifles. Nothing under the law requires a private seller of a long gun to check whether the buyer has a permit. Licensed dealers though, are required at minimum to conduct a NICS check of the buyer.

In North Carolina, no NICS check is required if the long gun buyer has a pistol permit or a concealed carry permit.

The Lincoln County Republican Party should be commended for taking the raffling of guns seriously enough to involve a licensed dealer, said Becky Ceartas, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, a Durham-based non-profit.

“But we should all be concerned that this is being treated as a popular item,” Ceartas said. “Something like this is not very appropriate in this day and age.”

“A bake sale is much more family-oriented,” she said.

Children at the fundraiser could get the impression guns are a popular item to purchase, she said. “That is sending the wrong message,” Ceartas said.

Propst couldn’t be reached this week, but Caskey defended the raffle.

“Here in Lincoln County, we are Second Amendment proponents,” Caskey said.

“I’m calling them far left liberals,” Caskey said of anyone who might oppose the raffling of guns to responsible owners. “It is fun to buy guns.”

He said many gun owners are collectors and hunters. “They’re responsible gun owners,” he said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak