Pima County, Ariz., is home to Tucson, where Jared Loughner allegedly used a Glock handgun in January to kill six people and wound 14 others — including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D). Now, the Pima County Republican Party is causing quite a stir thanks to its late August newsletter, which touts a rather ill-conceived fundraiser: The auction of a Glock handgun. Pima GOP interim chairman Mike Shaw is defending the raffle, noting that Giffords herself owned a Glock, and arguing that Loughner — and not his gun — was responsible for the shooting. Still, critics maintain that the raffle is shockingly "tone deaf." Is it?
The Pima GOP should be ashamed: Raffling off "an updated version of the same weapon" Loughner allegedly used to shoot Giffords is "beyond foul," says Andrew Belonsky at Death + Taxes. This demonstration of "completely terrible taste" is also poorly timed, since Giffords was just granted permission to use campaign funds for additional security at her home. Really, how on Earth did the Pima GOP fail to see "the dangerous subtext in and potential ramifications" of its Glock raffle?
"Gabrielle Giffords gets enhanced security, neighboring GOP auction off gun"
Let's not get too worked up about this: It's fair to "question the taste and judgment of the Pima County GOP," says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. But let's get the facts straight: The to-be-raffled Glock 23 is a "completely different weapon" than the Glock 19 Loughner allegedly used. And there is no mention of Giffords in the ad — or political upside in reminding voters of the shooting. My strong guess is the organizers just "thought a Glock would be a really great draw in a place where handguns are wildly popular."
"Gabby Giffords district Republicans raffle a Glock!"
Sadly, this isn't even surprising: I've used gun raffles in the past to raise money, says recently ousted Pima County GOP head Brian Miller, quoted by Talking Points Memo. But "politically, it's kind of a silly thing to do" this soon after the Giffords shooting. "There's a woman who has a bullet in the brain and who everybody is wishing a full recovery." And yet, this stunt is par for the course for the new "my way or the highway" leaders of the county GOP. These less-than-sensitive Republicans "aren't exactly known for their ability to feel the political pulse."
"Tucson Republican leader slams county GOP for Giffords gun raffle"
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