Upstate NY church giving away a modified AR-15

Grace Baptist Church in Lansingburgh, NY is clinging bitterly to their guns and religion in more ways than one.

Reverend John Koletas plans on raffling off a modified AR-15 at a Sunday forum later this month.  The rifle has been modified to be in compliance with New York’s SAFE Act.  The winner will be subject to a rigorous FBI background check, and must meet all state and federal laws.

A copy of the poster can be seen below:

AR-15 Giveaway

The announcement on the Grace Baptist website includes quotes from a few other bitter clingers … our Founding Fathers.

“A free people ought to be armed” 
-George Washington

“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery” 
-Thomas Jefferson

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve niether liberty nor safety”
-Benjamin Franklin

It was reported last month that gun manufacturers had outwitted lawmakers, by simply making cosmetic changes to the AR-15, making it perfectly legal in New York.

While some residents are questioning why a church would want to get involved in the gun rights argument, local media is trying to make this out to be a major controversy.  The Times Union repeatedly labeled the rifle as an assault weapon (which have been allegedly banned by the SAFE Act), and went TMZ on the reverend by taking far-off photos of him walking out of the church, as well as photos of his pickup truck including the license plate.

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, will speak at the church service being held on the 23rd.  McLaughlin told the Times Union, “I belong to a Catholic church and they raffle off thousands of dollars.”

He added, “This is a safe, legal firearm he’s raffling. I don’t see the controversy, and it doesn’t strike me as odd at all that they’d raffle a rifle at a church.”

Albany County DA David Soares (D) also provided this comment to the media:

“This is one of the strangest things I’ve seen.  We’re prosecuting people selling these guns from the trunks of cars in hotel parking lots. All our urban centers are struggling with gun violence. I hope the pastor is praying that this gun doesn’t end up on the street and involved in a homicide.”

First, Soares is equating a law-compliant giveaway to selling a gun out of the trunk of one’s car in a hotel parking lot.   Apples, meet oranges.

Second, Soares was proven last year to be a raging liar when it comes to the topic of AR-15 homicides.  Last year, WGY host Kelly Lynch ran into Soares at a gun control rally and asked the Democrat how many of the cases his office prosecutes actually involve these so-called “assault weapons.”

Soares responded, “Quite often.”

This response led Lynch to file a Freedom of Information request with the DA’s office.  She discovered that during the course of the entire year, not one crime in Albany County involved an “assault weapon.”  Not one murder.  Not one robbery.  Not one rape and not one shooting.

Soares is not exactly a credible countermeasure in this argument.

Reverend Koletas stated that he is simply, “honoring hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the anti-christian socialist media and anti-christian socialist politicians the last few years.”

Meanwhile, Troy Police Captain John Cooney told The Record that his department expects the gun giveaway to comply with the law.

““We recognize the uniqueness of the gun giveaway and expect full compliance by the Church relative to all applicable rules and guidelines attached to the matter,” he said.

Cooney also added, “We balance our oversight with respect of the Second Amendment rights provided to our citizens; the United States Constitution is the foundation of the work we do.”

Cross-posted at the Mental Recession

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is editor of the Mental Recession, one of the top conservative blogs of 2012. His writings have appeared at the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record.


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