- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2001

A gun raffled by some rural Maryland Republicans last year generated so much money, national attention and Democratic disgust that organizers are offering up two firearms this year.
The Carroll County Republican Central Committee has announced the Second Annual Gun Raffle Fundraiser, this time featuring a Beretta 9000S pistol and a Beretta AL 391 shotgun.
"It not only makes a good political statement, but it is a good fund-raiser," said organizer Scott Hollenbeck, who raised $15,000 from last year's raffle. "It proved to be successful."
This time, the committee is reaching out to more Republicans.
Sponsors include state Sens. Larry E. Haines and Timothy R. Ferguson of Carroll County, Andy Harris of Baltimore County and Alex Mooney of Frederick County.
Republican Delegates Carmen Amedori, Joseph M. Getty and Nancy Stocksdale, all of Carroll County, and Bob Baldwin of Anne Arundel County also are sponsors, along with County Commissioner Robin Frazier.
Sponsors each paid $25, and the money will offset the cost of printing the tickets.
"In my opinion this is very irresponsible," said Tierney Siegel, president of the Montgomery County chapter of the Million Mom March. "They certainly could raffle off a car."
Last year's raffle coincided with a proposal by Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening to mandate trigger locks on all new guns sold to the public. The governor also advocated the phasing in of built-in locks on all guns.
The General Assembly passed the governor's bill.
In addition, Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., also a Democrat, proposed banning private ownership of handguns, a plan that gained no support.
A 66-year-old woman, Helen Roop of Keymar, Md., won the 9 mm pistol raffled last year. She passed on the chance to collect an alternative prize of $500 cash, saying she sought the gun and accompanying safety lessons for protection.
Miss Roop bought the first ticket for the new raffle.
Although they printed just 500 tickets, with hopes of raising $2,500 in the drawing, the county Republicans raised more than six times that amount last year.
They sold about 3,400 chances at $5 each to would-be winners from around the state, Virginia and even the Midwest.
Gun advocates showed their support via the Internet and bought tickets on principle. Those pushing for greater gun control expressed their own outrage.
Betty Smith, a four-year member and vice chairman of Carroll County's Republican Central Committee, quit last year, citing the raffle. Before the drawing, about a dozen protesters waved signs outside along Route 140 in Westminster, Md.
That raffle spawned copycat events named for Mr. Curran and state Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, Baltimore Democrat, who wanted to ban gun raffles.
Tickets for this year's raffle are $5 each, with a limit of 10 per buyer. No one under the age of 21 will be sold a ticket. Money raised through the raffle will pay for the prizes.
Mr. Hollenbeck estimated the pistol is worth $500 and the shotgun is worth $700. Gun locks and safety courses will be provided to winners. They will have the option to take a cash-prize alternative.
Winners will be announced July 4 at the VFW Hall on Poole Road in Westminster. The Hampstead Gun and Outdoor Supply Company is supplying the pistol and the Gunshack of Mount Airy is supplying the shotgun.

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