Church responds to anti-gun critics … by giving away another AR-15

Church responds to anti-gun critics … by giving away another AR-15

A small church in upstate New York has responded to anti-Second Amendment critics by deciding to give away a second modified AR-15.

Grace Baptist Church in Lansingburgh created quite a firestorm of controversy last month, announcing that at a pro-Second Amendment rally they would raffle off a modified AR-15.

Yesterday, Reverend John Koletas and his church raffled off the modified AR-15.  The rifle has been modified to be in compliance with New York’s SAFE Act, and the winner will be subject to a rigorous FBI background check and must meet all state and federal laws before he can claim his prize.

WNYT covered the event:

People came from as far away as New York City to take part in the raffle for a free AR-15. Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, who spoke during the service, admits it may sound unusual to some people that a place of worship, a place for peace, is raffling off a weapon.

“Yes is it unusual,” said Assem. McLaughlin. “Is it illegal? Absolutely not. And it’s not unethical either. And the people have every right to support the second amendment. I hope everybody does.”

McLaughlin says people have every right to defend themselves and laws like the Safe Act is eating away at it.

After nearly three hours of sermon, singing and speeches from two different guests, Ron Stafford was the big winner.

“It felt like I was at home and I felt like I was with the majority of all Americans,” said Stafford.

While some residents questioned why a church would want to get involved in the gun rights argument, local media tried desperately to make it 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 complete with license plate.

They even sought comment from the Albany County DA, David Soares (D), who had just last year been caught in a blatant lie about how many cases he has prosecuted involving so-called “assault weapons.”

The church, rather than cave to the far-left anti-gun liberals and the hysterical media, announced something quite surprising.

Here is a post from the gun shop that provided the modified AR-15, the Oakwood Trading Post:

Well, Grace Baptist was supposed to give away a NYS-compliant M&P15 to a law abiding person this weekend.
But due to some criticism, false reporting in the press, threats and a handful of complaints they’ve decided to not go through with the give away as planned.

…now they’re giving away two.

I spoke with a relative of Pastor Koletas yesterday, who confirmed the giveaway would take place tonight.

“They gave one away this morning and the other one they are giving away Monday night.  If you come to tonight’s service (Sunday), your name gets put into tomorrow’s drawing on top of attending that service tomorrow. So basically gives you an extra chance …”

For their part, the Oakwood Trading Post responded to their own critics of the event just a few weeks ago:

It has been suggested to us that pulling out of the Grace Baptist Raffle would be a good idea , good for business, and good for the Capital Gun Group. The intolerant left has focused on Grace Bible & Pastor Koletas with condemnation & concern.
I look at the hypocrisy of the left
The Jeremiah Wright’s
The Louis Farrakhan’s
The Al Sharpton’s
These men preach division & hate yet the left and their media embrace them.

In NYS a errant Governor labels, stereotypes, and discriminates legal gun owners, passes laws in the middle of the night that make hundreds of thousands into criminals, then orders his detractors to leave the State.

Is this really about a Church raffling a gun? No
This is all about the left attempting to silence organizations, businesses, and individuals from exercising their Civil Rights.

Will we TURN ?

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 earlier this month that his department expected 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 then added this money quote:  “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.”

If only our politicians would do the same.

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.


For your convenience, you may leave commments below using Disqus. If Disqus is not appearing for you, please disable AdBlock to leave a comment.