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Monday, June 24, 2024

Louisiana Police Criticized Over ‘Tone Deaf’ AR-15 Raffle For Home Violence Nonprofit

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A Louisiana police officer got here disturbingly near raffling off an AR-15-style rifle this week in a misguided try to help victims of home violence. The trouble was discontinued after activists in St. Tammany Parish noticed a flyer promoting tickets on social media.

The digital leaflet depicted a Core rifle and a smiling portrait of Lt. Patrick Casnave, an officer with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Workplace who was described as a “Superhero” for a home violence nonprofit.

“Lt. Patrick Casnave , AKA Superhero for Protected Harbor, is raffling off a rifle … to learn Protected Harbor,” learn the flyer, which was obtained by HuffPost. “CORE AR-15 Valued at $800. $10 every or 3 for $25.”

The raffle quickly confronted pushback from activists like Cynthia Weatherly.

The LGBTQ advocate, who beforehand fought a neighborhood library board to maintain challenged titles out there, mentioned she was shocked when she noticed the flyer on Fb.

A picture of the flyer promoting a raffle for the AR-15-style rifle.

So Weatherly referred to as the quantity on the flyer and spoke to Sgt. Carli Messina, one other officer on the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Workplace. Weatherly “defined how inappropriate” the raffle appeared, however mentioned she was informed it “was largely geared toward Legislation enforcement and their family and friends.”

The activist rejected this as a justification to carry a drawing for a lethal weapon.

“As if the gun going into the palms of a LEO [law enforcement officer] made it okay,” she informed HuffPost.

Although actual figures are murky, Weatherly cited one estimate that home violence amongst regulation enforcement is “15 occasions larger than the overall inhabitants.”

Of their dialogue concerning the raffle, Weatherly mentioned Messina tried to shift consideration away from the rifle by arguing that “alcohol additionally contributes to home violence.” Weatherly informed HuffPost that she “felt dismissed” by Messina’s statements.

“I received teary eyed as I sat in my driveway,” mentioned Weatherly, noting that her mom had been a sufferer of home violence.

Based on the Instructional Fund to Cease Gun Violence, round 4.5 million ladies within the U.S. have been threatened with a gun, and almost 1 million ladies have been shot or shot at by a accomplice. Girls are 5 occasions extra prone to be killed if their abuser has a gun.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. However this isn’t the primary time that regulation enforcement has raffled off weapons within the U.S.

In Missouri, the Columbia Police Officers Affiliation reportedly mentioned it might proceed with a firearm giveaway final yr, regardless of public outrage after current mass shootings nationwide.

The Bergenfield Police Division in New Jersey tried the identical in 2019. The trouble was reportedly thwarted when the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Workplace intervened, arguing {that a} state statute prohibited giving freely weapons as prizes.

Gun raffles, like this one in North Carolina in 2022, have been popular among Republicans.
Gun raffles, like this one in North Carolina in 2022, have been standard amongst Republicans.

Win McNamee through Getty Photos

“This isn’t a gun for searching deer, it’s for searching individuals,” wrote Manuel, who makes use of they/them pronouns.

“Raffling it off to help a nonprofit serving victims of home violence is unbelievably tone deaf, particularly provided that the presence of a gun in a home violence scenario will increase the danger of murder by 500%,” they continued.

Manuel’s opponent within the congressional race, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), has espoused bewildering views on weapons prior to now.

Final yr, Scalise mentioned that passing gun security laws to curb mass shootings can be improper, arguing that “there wasn’t a dialog about banning airplanes” after the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults.

He additionally said that college shootings didn’t occur within the Sixties, when “we truly had prayer in class.” However gun management advocates are demanding extra stringent regulation, not prayer, to forestall violence.

Manuel famous that Casnave’s involvement within the raffle, which Protected Harbor in the end canceled, is baffling.

“As an officer whose job it’s to forestall crime, I can’t think about why he’d wish to add one other semi-automatic weapon onto our streets,” they wrote.

Need assistance? Within the U.S., name 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the Nationwide Home Violence Hotline.

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