Sep 2, 2011 2:54 AM
TUCSON - Tucson is once again making national headlines. This time its over a controversial raffle.
As a fundraiser the Pima County Republican Party is raffling off a gun and it's stirred up all kinds of problems.
The gun is Glock-23 handgun. The same brand, police said shooting suspect Jared Loughner used in the shooting on January 8th to kill 6-people, and injure 13-others, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Phones at the Republican Headquarters in Tucson were ringing off the hook on Thursday. Some were calls of but there were also a whole lot of angry calls from all over the country, some even making serious threats.
Republican leaders are defending their actions; actions some survivors of the Jan. 8th shooting just can't believe.
Nancy Bowman was there the day of the shooting; a nurse who tried to save lives even before any of the first responders arrived. She said, "I saw it this morning and I was just appalled. I was hurt, I was insulted. My heart just went out to all the families."
It's a reaction the interim director of the Pima County Republican Party Mike Shaw never thought he would run into. Shaw said, "I'm actually surprised by the reaction. Gabrielle Giffords has been on record as being a gun owner."
On top of that Shaw said they've had the gun well before the shooting ever happened. Shaw said, "We're not trying to be insensitive at all. This is a Glock we had in the office from last year. Winner hadn't picked it up yet. We've done gun raffles in the past and we will again in the future. We decided to use it as a fund raiser."
But Bowman said not this gun, anything but a Glock. She said, "It's so incredibly insensitive, cruel, and down right mean to auction that thing off like it's some kind of toy or some kind of prize."
But Shaw said it's just a gun, and you can't blame the gun. He added, "The Glock is not responsible for what happen at the Tucson shooting. Jared Loughner is responsible for what happen at the Tucson shooting."
We contacted Giffords' office to get their reaction but new communication person Mark Kimble told us they don't respond to political issues. We continued to press saying this has a very specific tie to their office and he said no and refused to comment further.
As for the republicans, Shaw said the raffle will continue. In fact they plan to raffle more guns in the future.