Controversial rifle raffle nets campaign cash for GOP group

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MESA, Ariz. -- An East Valley Republican group raised about $1,100 in campaign money from raffling off an AR-15 assault rifle this week.

This was the same type of gun used in the Sandy Hook massacre one year ago that killed 21 schoolchildren and adults.

The chairman of the Legislative District 26 Republicans, Raymond Jones, said he wasn't aware that the first anniversary of the killings was Saturday.

Had he known, Jones said, "We might have considered another weapon."

The identity of the woman who won is being withheld. Jones said his organization will hand over the rifle after verifying that she can legally own a firearm.

It had cost $10 to enter the contest. The winning ticket was drawn Tuesday night.

The money raised will be used to support Republican candidates in the East Valley district, which includes parts of Tempe and Mesa.

According to Jones, the GOP group bought the gun for $800 and sold about $1,900 in tickets.

This is not the first time District 26 Republicans have used guns to raise money. Jones says they also offered people a chance to win a gun in June.