New York Pastor Holding Good, Wholesome Church Raffle For AR-15

An upstate New York pastor plans to raffle off an AR-15 seminautomatic rifle at a service later this month, according to The New York Daily News.

“We’re honoring gun owners and hunters,” Rev. John Koletas, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Troy, N.Y., told the newspaper. “And we’re being a blessing and a help to people who have been attacked, viciously attacked, by socialists and anti-Christian people — the politicians and the media.”

A flyer advertising the March 23 service features a Bible verse — “my peace I give unto you” — above an image of a AR-15 modified to meet New York’s new gun-control laws. (Koletas noted that the rifle does not have a pistol grip.) A state lawmaker, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R), is scheduled to also speak at the event.

McLaughlin noted that the winner will have to go through a background check before being able to take home the $700 firearm.

“This is something Gov. Cuomo should applaud,” McLaughlin said. “These are law-abiding people, churchgoing people, and it complies with” the gun control legislation passed in the state last year and known as the SAFE Act.

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com

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