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Tea Party Gun Raffle Sparks Controversy

Updated: Wednesday, December 19 2012, 07:48 AM EST

First the Asheville Tea Party brought you the "Machine Gun Social." Now its sister organization, the Asheville TeaPac brings you the "Great Gun Giveaway."

"We planned this several weeks ago," said Chairwoman Jane Bilello. The TeaPac is raffling off two semi-automatic guns, including an AR-15 assault rifle.

"That's not a gift, that's not something that should be raffled off. It's very insensitive," said Laura Basham.

"I don't think it's okay to do it at all," echoed Gypsy Hundley.

The raffle comes despite the Connecticut school shooting last Friday that left 20 elementary students and six teachers dead. "It was not timed after this tragedy. It was timed before," Bilello said.

But some, including Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones, think the raffle should be cancelled. "This event is out of touch with the grief that we're all feeling," she said.

But Bilello countered, "gun free zones don't work." That's why Bilello vows the gun raffle will go forward. "The only people that you are disarming are those that are going to be victims."

Some, like Marjorie Cooper, agree with Bilello. "I think we should be focusing more on the mental illness and the culture of violence in our society."

By: Mario Boone,

Follow Mario on Twitter @MarioBoone

Tea Party Gun Raffle Sparks Controversy

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