Church Raffles Off AR-15 Assault Rifles Days After Las Vegas Shooting
The Oasis Church of All Nations reportedly sold raffle tickets for two AR-15 assault rifles at a Walmart Supercenter in Oxford, Mississippi on Oct. 7, less than a week after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history in Las Vegas.
Matt Sessums, a witness, told The Washington Post that two adults and three kids were selling the tickets for the lethal weapons:
I see this one little girl in particular, you know, pointing to the thing about the AR-15 raffle and getting people to buy tickets. It just kind of blew my mind that little kids were participating in something like that.
Sessums’ neighbor Kris Belden-Adams also saw the bizarre raffle at the store:
I had a kid approach me: “Would you like to join a raffle? We’ve got two AR-15s.” And I’m like, “Whoa.”
We have flags still half-mast for the Las Vegas shooting here in Oxford. I thought it was in bad taste at this time to be auctioning an AR-15, the same weapon used in Las Vegas. Or one of them.
The Oasis Church of All Nations noted on its Facebook page that the money raised from the AR-15 raffle would go toward its Transformations Life Center, “a 12-month long drug discipleship program for those addicted,” reports The Washington Post.
The church’s Facebook page has since been removed, but Danny Budd, director of the Transformation Life Center, responded to Belden-Adams in an earlier Facebook message:
We understand your concern however, we’ve had a very positive response to the Ticket sell and no negative response. We believe in the second amendment and the first amendment. For some, there would never be a right time to raffle any fire arm. We respect your concern and message.
Dear Pastor Budd, I also respect your response and support of the second amendment, just as you respect my right to raise these concerns. Some of us who strongly support your philanthropic cause and religious views were alienated by the raffle’s political position (whether or not intended), and the use of children to approach people to sell raffle tickets to win AR-15s.
Budd and the church refused to comment to The Washington Post.