DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The Danville Fire Union is raffling guns to raise money for charity, but it has people in town concerned about the message it sends to the community.
The union is giving away a gun every day of December to 31 raffle winners. People are commenting on social media they shouldn’t be promoting guns at all. The union laid out the state laws behind this kind of raffle and the registered gun owner qualifications the winners have to meet. But even knowing that, some still think it’s a bad idea.
Every year, the Danville Fire Union chooses a charity and gives thousands of dollars to a good cause. In the past, they’ve held poker tournaments and sold calendars. This time around they’re doing a gun raffle.
Union President Brian Hogg says, “We decided that it seemed like a good opportunity to try something different than what we have in the past.”
But this fundraiser has some angry and confused. Facebook posts from people in town say it’s tasteless and senseless to promote gun use in a city that struggles with gun violence. Several comments highlight people’s contention with the idea of a gun raffle. But the fire union has a different opinion.
Hogg says, “We feel that everybody has participated in this gun raffle are law-abiding citizens that would follow the state laws of possessing a firearm.” Hogg clarified the strict rules for winners in this fundraiser saying, “They would have to go to the store where we bought the guns from present the FOID card and present all the registration paperwork and depending on what type of gun it is they would have to wait 24 or 72 hours before receiving that gun.”
So far, the union has raised $8,000 for “Operation Warm” to give coats to kids in need. Hogg says, “It’s our duty to help give back to the community in multiple different ways. We just feel that part of the core value of the union is to help others.” He believes this gun raffle is a big help to generate money for that.
There is an option for raffle winners to chose the cash equivalent of the gun instead. Seven of the winners have done that so far.