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Southeastern PA

Sheriff's group in Chester County to auction off AR-15 rifle

Proceeds to benefit sheriff's department's dog unit programs

Gun raffle under fire in Chester County

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - A charity raffle in Chester County is raising a few eyebrows.

One of the top prizes is the Colt AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, similar to the one used in the Sandy Hook massacre last December.

Sheriff Carolyn Welsh is helping to organize the charity raffle.

Welsh, who's also known as "Bunny," is a mother and grandmother and says she hasn't forgotten the victims of Sandy Hook.

"I have four kids. And I have nine grandkids and seven of them are under nine years of age. And I certainly understand the sensitivity, but you need to understand that that [Sandy Hook] was a crime committed by a person who should have never had that weapon," said Sheriff Welsh.

Due to the controversy surrounding the charity raffle, officials say the $20 tickets are now in high demand.

Money raised would help train the sheriff's department's K-9s.

Training costs thousands of dollars, officials said, and it's not covered under the budget.

"And the training of those dogs really serves all law enforcement and the citizens in this county," Welsh said.

Officials add that whoever wins the AR-15 will have to undergo a background check, but the idea of raffling a rifle doesn't sit well with some residents.

"I mean of all the things you can raffle off, it does not seem like the appropriate thing to do," said Sandy Eckberg from Springfield. "I'm a preschool teacher, grandmother, and I'd like to see less of them."

"Use something else for charity, you know, not a gun. Not in favor of it? No, not in favor of it," said Buff Renali.

Sheriff Welsh says she has no plans to remove the AR-15 from the raffle prizes.

"No, there will be no changing the rules of the raffle," Welsh said.

The charity raffle is scheduled to take place May 13th at the Downingtown Country Club.

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