Planned giveaway of an AR-15 cancelled after city councilors reach out
UPDATE, 11:20 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. Friday, June 3: An AR-15 will not be raffled off at Law Enforcement Appreciation Day on Saturday, the Ashland Gun and Rifle Club has decided, according to Ashland City Councilor Tonya Graham. She said in an email Friday morning she, Ashland Mayor Julie Akins and possibly other councilors had reached out to club President Dave Dotterrer regarding the raffle, and that she received a message from Dotterrer Friday morning saying “they have decided not to raffle off an AR-15 at the open house tomorrow.” Dotterrer, who is also a Jackson County commissioner and the commission’s liaison to the City Council, confirmed Friday afternoon the AR-15 raffle would not take place. The club went out a couple months ago looking for donations for the raffle, he said, and it was one of the items offered. The club’s not making any money off it, he noted, saying everyone in attendance receives a free raffle ticket at no cost.
By Bert Etling, Ashland.news
The public is welcome to come to a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day celebration, including a free lunch, the chance to win firearms in free drawings, and watch demonstrations of law enforcement capabilities, on Saturday at the Ashland Gun & Archery Club just east of Ashland.
Ashland’s police chief defended his department taking part in the event — it’s not involved in the raffle — in an email sent Thursday in response to an email expressing concerns about handing out a weapon used in many mass shootings, including at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
The club is celebrating its 111th anniversary by honoring the men and women of law enforcement. Members of the Ashland Police Department, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon Army National Guard are expected, according to the sheriff’s office. The free event is open to the entire community and is an opportunity to show appreciation to and interact with local law enforcement.
The public will have the chance to meet and talk to representatives of the sheriff’s office command staff, as well as corrections, patrol, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), K-9, Search and Rescue (SAR), and Records Division teams.
The SWAT and K-9 Teams will demonstrate capabilities and equipment throughout the day. SAR and Records personnel will be on hand to answer questions and assist with concealed handgun licensing applications.
There will also be a chance for the public to fire a SWAT sniper rifle.
The club is providing a free barbecue lunch for all attendees and a free drawing for an AR-15, rifles and accessory items, according to the club website.
The event is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 4, at 555 Emigrant Creek Road, Ashland.
“As you have read, APD is not the lead entity running this event, it is driven by the Gun Club, and other entities, like APD, are invited in to participate,” Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara said in his email. “We, the police department, are not raffling off anything, we are showing our support and partnership with the Ashland Gun Club, and supporting the safe handling of firearms education that the Gun Club brings to the community.
“The (department) has a long history of working with the Gun Club for our training needs. The property the club sits on is actually owned by the City and leased to them, as it has been for about 75 years. It is written into the lease that we (APD) are allowed no-charge access for our training needs.
“I join you in being worried about guns getting into the wrong hands. I hope you can see our participation as being supportive of the Gun Club’s attempts at encouraging the safe use of guns for hunting and sporting purposes, that is certainly the light in which it is offered.”
Sources: Jackson County Sheriff’s Office news release, Ashland Gun & Archery Club website, email from Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara. Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text him at 541-631-1313.