Protest planned against assault rifle raffle in Waunakee

WAUNAKEE (WKOW) - The awarding of an assault rifle raffle prize by a non-profit group at a Waunakee fundraiser will be met with protest.

Waunakee Police Chief Kevin Plendl tells 27 News he's planning on as many as one hundred protesters being at the event sponsored by the Friends of the NRA at Rex's Innkeeper Wednesday.  Plendl says officers will be on hand for traffic and security purposes.The fundraiser advertises as one of its grand prizes "the big brother of the AR-15," an almost identical-looking firearm to the rifle made notorious by its use by a teenage suspect in the February killing of more than a dozen students and staff members at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

"We're very focused on just the one gun,"  says Cindy Lindquist, a Waunakee school teacher and one of the protest's organizers.

Lindquist notes as many as three hundred Waunakee school children walked out of class last month in connection with a nationwide demonstration to memorialize the Parkland school shooting victims. Lindquist says she expects students will be part of Wednesday's protest to the raffle prize.

Waunakee resident Bill Mann says discretion should be exercised and the firearm removed as a raffle prize, with the event so close in time to Parkland and student activism around current gun laws, and with the supper club just blocks from a school.

Mann says he and others concerned with a raffle prize of an assault rifle offered to make up the cash difference if a change from the firearm to another prize, affected raffle sales.  "We would make that up,"  Mann says.

"Under state gaming laws, once we advertise that raffle ticket, we can't change it,"  Friends of the NRA member Brian Downey tells 27 News.  "So our hands are tied in that regard."

Downey says the raffle is an annual, long-standing event that benefits many grant applicants through the National Rifle Association.  He says grants include funds for NRA School Shield, to help with school safety initiatives."People who are protesting...say they're for school safety.  Who isn't?"  Downey says. 

"We're the good guys,"  Downey tells 27 News.  "We're the ones who aren't just talking about it, we're actually doing it,"  Downey says.

Mann says the notion of someone walking out of the raffle with a semi-automatic rifle into the Waunakee community is an affront to him and a growing community of millennials.  As a baby boomer, he says he feels an obligation to join the youthful activism.  "I think our generation hasn't done enough,"  Mann says.

Downey says the winner of the AR-15-type gun - commonly referred to as a 308 Win - will need to pass a firearms background check in order to claim the raffle prize.

Plendl says protesters will be required to assemble across the street from the restaurant.  Restaurant owner Rex Endres tells 27 News he expects one-hundred-fifty people to attend the fundraiser.

There's also been opposition to the planned, raffle prize award of an AR-15 in May by the Janesville Professional Police Association.

For more on this story:

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content