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GOP's Gun Raffle In Giffords' District Sparks Hot Debate

A Glock .40-caliber handgun.
Karen Bleier
AFP/Getty Images
A Glock .40-caliber handgun.

The Pima County (Arizona) Republican Party's decision to raffle off a Glock 23 .40-caliber handgun has generated some sharp criticism because not only is Pima County part of Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' district, but also because the gun used in January to kill six people and wound 13 others, including Giffords, was a Glock.

As the Arizona Republic writes, "Democrats and other critics, including at least one GOP official, say the Pima County Republican Party is exhibiting insensitivity."

Michael McNulty, Giffords' campaign chairman, tells the Republic he is "struggling for the words to describe my reaction." Jeff Rogers, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, says the raffle shows "a rather stunning lack of judgment and sensitivity."

Mike Shaw, the Pima County GOP's interim chairman, tells the newspaper he's surprised by such criticism because Giffords owns a Glock and, he says, because the gun "is no more responsible for those deaths and the congresswoman's injuries than a No. 2 pencil is responsible for cheating on a test."

In its online newsletter advertising the raffle, the Pima GOP says 125 tickets will be sold for $10 each in the raffle. The gun retails for more than $400. "That's right, for just $10 this gun could be yours," the GOP adds.

Tucson's KVOA-TV has a video of Rogers and Shaw each making their cases.

Our question:

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.