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Bill would ban gun raffles in New York

Gun raffles are major revenue sources for some nonprofit organizations and volunteer fire departments, but a bill introduced in the state Legislature could prohibit the events.

Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, a Brooklyn Democrat, introduced the measure that would ban gun raffles. Twenty-nine of Simon’s Assembly colleagues, all Democrats and nearly all of whom represent downstate districts, cosponsored the legislation.

Under New York state law, it is legal to hold gun raffles and to award firearms in a game of chance. Simon’s bill would end the practice.

“Firearms should not be raffled off in this manner,” Simon wrote in the sponsor’s memo. “Firearm-related violence is a significant public health and safety problem and weapons should not be given away in games of chance.”

Many organizations, especially in upstate, hold gun raffles to generate revenue. In Cayuga County, the Aurelius Volunteer Fire Department holds an annual gun raffle to raise money for equipment purchases and other expenses.

Kevin Foster, a captain with the Aurelius Volunteer Fire Department, explained that gun raffles and other fundraisers are necessary because of the property tax cap. The cap limits property tax levy growth to 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

The Auburn Citizen:
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