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January 16, 2013

Police chiefs group defends firearms raffle

(Continued)

Rep. Sharon Nordgren, D-Hanover, said the raffle is clearly inappropriate.

“It’s amazing they can be so insensitive, when this country is trying to grapple with (Newtown) and trying to prevent it,” she said. “You would hope there would be some sensitivity of what the country is going through, whether they agree on gun control or not.”

But other lawmakers, including gun-control advocate Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, said the raffle is OK as long all regulations are followed and the winners are determined to be responsible gun owners.

“If they are following the law, I don’t have a problem with it,” she said.

The bigger problem, Carson said, is firearms ending up in the wrong hands, especially those who are mentally ill.

“I know there are a lot of people focusing on the gun issue right now,” she said. “But I really think they should be focusing on mental health issues. This is where we should be concentrating our efforts instead of going after law-abiding citizens.”

Southern New Hampshire police chiefs had mixed views, with some declining comment because they said they were not familiar enough with the issue.

Sandown police Chief Joseph Gordon said he did not oppose the raffle as long as regulations were properly followed.

“It’s when they get in the hands of bad people that there is a problem,” he said.

Atkinson police Chief Philip Consentino said although he supports the association, he didn’t like the idea of the weapons ending up in the public’s hands.

“I wouldn’t say anything against the association,” he said. “That’s just my personal feeling.”

It’s not the first such raffle in the state. In the fall, the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire and the Barn Store of New England also raffled off 30 firearms over 30 days — to benefit Conservation Law Enforcement activities of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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