TROY, N.Y. – A local church is giving a gun away in a raffle, and a politician has received threats for participating in the event.
Grace Baptist Church in Troy will be giving a gun away in a raffle on March 23. The Oakwood Trading Post is a sponsor in the event.
The gun store said the winner of the raffle will be given a Smith and Wesson M&P 15.
The giveaway has been so controversial, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin said he has received a threat for speaking at the church during the event.
“The phone call was really odd,” he said. “Let's just say screaming on the phone; a lot of swear words. I returned his call and that's when the threat was made.”
Troy Police said the threats were made via e-mail and voicemail.
McLaughlin said the caller said he should be fire from his position and shot. Troy Police said that threat is not credible.
“The left is going crazy over this because it's everything they don't like,” McLaughlin said. “Which is God, church, guns.”
The politician said he never meant to be caught up in the fire storm of the debate.
“They asked me to speak at a church in support of the Second Amendment of the Constitution,” he said. “I'm not speaking because they're giving away a gun. They just happen to be giving away a gun.”
Employees at the Oakwood Trading Post said the winner of the giveaway will actually be given a voucher for the rifle which is New York safe compliant.
The winning rifle is a modern sporting rifle and similar to the AR-15.
“Yeah, when I look back at it, it's an unusual venue to be giving away a firearm; however, it is 100 percent legal,” McLaughlin said.
The owner of the Oakwood Trading Post said whoever wins the raffle does not get to walk away with the firearm from the church. He or she would receive a voucher that they have to bring to the store to get a background check before they can walk away with the rifle.