Lake County Republicans Raffle Assault Rifle to Finance Campaigns

By Lee Goodman, organizer, Peaceful Communities

Less than two weeks after the shooting massacre in Las Vegas, the Lake County Republican Party raffled off an assault rifle and other guns in order to raise money for their campaigns. More than 100 outraged residents showed up in the Village of Kildeer on very short notice to protest this grotesquely insensitive disregard for public safety. When a reporter asked whether the protest was partisan, my response was “No.” I explained that if the Democratic Party had held a similar event, I and many others would be at that protest, too. But, I added, the Democratic Party in our area does not give guns out to whoever holds a winning ticket, and I feel confident that it never will. The Democratic Party is in touch with the desires of the vast majority of Americans here and all over our country who want fewer guns in circulation and more effective laws to prevent gun violence.

Immediately after the worst mass shooting in recent history, the White House and the NRA were quick to say that we should not talk about solving the problems that guns cause in America. They said that it would be politicizing the tragedy. But their own Republican Party had no hesitation to go ahead with its gun raffle to raise money for political campaigns. Despite a public clamor to cancel the raffle, they persisted. The chairman of the Lake County Republicans told reporters that he believed, as the NRA does, that there is no way to prevent shootings.

In the Trump era, many Republican voters like to pretend that they are more moderate than their party is. But the leadership of the Republican Party in Lake County has, by their intransigence on the issue of guns, shown that it is solidly aligned with the anti-social policies their party promotes at the national level. It would have been easy to cancel the Lake County raffle, but they refused.

Some people question the value of protests. In this instance, the protest attracted the attention of virtually all area news outlets. The result was that the Republican Party had to publicly answer for its actions, on the record. Voters who care about the damage guns are doing to our country now have the facts, and they can be expected to hold accountable all Lake County Republican candidates, because all of these candidates are benefiting from and supporting a party that auctions off guns like carnival prizes.

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