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NY lawmakers propose bill to ban gun raffles

The Maxwell Base Exchange firearms counter, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer/U.S. Air Force)
February 07, 2019

New York policymakers are trying to ban gun raffles with a newly proposed bill.

Bill A01413 was introduced to the New York State Assembly by Jo Anne Simon and co-sponsored by 25 additional lawmakers who say they support the bill in the name of gun violence, according to My Twin Tiers News.

In addition to banning gun raffles, alcohol raffles would also be banned.

The bill reads, “No alcoholic beverage or firearm, as defined in section 265.00 of the penal law, shall be offered or given as a prize in any game of chance,” ABC 7 News reported.

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The bill further states, “Firearms should not be raffled off in this manner. Firearm related violence is a significant public health and safety problem and weapons should not be given away in games of chance.”

Before any raffle winner can take ownership of a gun, they must pass a background check.

The problem that arises with the proposed bill is that there are numerous organizations that rely on the proceeds from gun raffles, primarily fire departments.

Ed Kane, chief of the Boston Volunteer Fire Department, said, “We try to save a certain amount of money every year in our budget for equipment replacement and if it’s not there we just aren’t going to be able to do it that year.”

Kane said that gun raffles raise approximately $25,000 — about 16 percent of the department’s budget.

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Kane worries that the volunteer fire department will suffer without the gun raffle monies. He said the department has nearly 40 volunteers and $2,500 is needed to equip each one.

Maintenance and safety checks are also a notable expense, given the range of equipment used daily. Additionally, the department may soon require $350,000 for a new fire engine.

Kane said, “It’s absolutely critical if we lose 16 percent of our operating budget, we are going to have to make some real hard choices on what we can fund and what we can’t.”

The fire department, along with the other organizations, still have time to hold another raffle. The bill has not yet come to a vote, and even if passed, the law would not go into effect for some time.

The Boston Volunteer Fire Department holds their annual gun raffle on the first weekend of May, and it is unlikely the bill would go into law by then.