Manktelow Opposes Bill to Ban Gun Raffles

Law would create financial hardship for myriad of rural non-profits

Assemblyman Brian Manktelow, (R,C,I,Ref-Lyons) is vigorously opposing a bill that would ban firearms prizes in popular fundraising raffles held by fire departments, sportsmen’s clubs and other non-profits.

“This legislation will do nothing to keep people safer and instead create a huge hardship for non-profit organizations depending on these raffles to supplement their annual budgets,” Manktelow said about bill A1413.

Many organizations, particularly fire departments in rural areas, use these raffles to raise thousands of dollars to purchase much needed equipment to keep their members safe and to protect their communities without having to place a burden on taxpayers.  The money also pays for insurance, repairs, even cancer coverage.

Sportsmen’s groups use the funds generated by such raffles for hunter safety education, scholarships, conservation efforts and other community activities.

For many groups, firearms raffles are their biggest fundraisers of the year. If the law passes, it would mean major adjustments to their budgets and curtailment of activities. Many fire department members and sportsmen’s group members from across the 130th Assembly District have contacted Manktelow, asking him to oppose the bill.

Besides, the assemblyman said, there is no evidence that gun raffles perpetuate gun violence. In fact, those who participate in such raffles usually know how to handle a firearm already and are more safety-conscious than the average person.

“It’s erroneous to claim, as supporters of the bill say, that games of chance with firearms as prizes are somehow connected to firearm-related violence; there’s absolutely nothing to support that anywhere,” the assemblyman continued.

Manktelow said the guns that are won at the raffles, which usually accompany a dinner or other event to celebrate the organization, and never simply handed over to the winner, as someone might think from reading the proposed legislation.

“These raffles don’t put firearms in the hands of anyone on the night of the raffle; you have to be old enough to own a gun, and you have to be able to pass a FBI National Instant Check System (NICS) review. Transfers are subject to state and federal law,” he said.

Nearly all of the Assembly members who have signed onto the bill, sponsored by Jo Anne Simon, a Brooklyn Majority member, are from downstate. Manktelow suggested he might invite supporters of the bill to visit upstate and speak with groups that depend on fundraising so they can have a better understanding of the importance of the raffles.

“I would be happy to have them meet with some of our local organizations, and also speak with people in our communities who understand how these raffles work firsthand,” Manktelow said. “We must do all we can to preserve this fundraising option for our local organizations, as well as preserve our Second Amendment rights.”