Tea Party fundraiser to fire off Uzis, AK-47s

10:07 AM, Aug 17, 2012   |    comments
By Jack Gruber, USA TODAY
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By Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

A Tea Party group in North Carolina has come up with a fundraising idea aimed at helping political candidates and supporting the rights of gun owners.

For $25, the Asheville Tea Party Political Action Committee will let attendees fire off rounds from an Uzi or another 9mm submachine gun, reports the Citizen-Times newspaper.

For $35, supporters of the "Machine Gun Social" on Sept. 29 can shoot from an M-16. Firing off an AK-47 costs $50.

Jane Bilello, chairwoman of the group, told the Asheville newspaper that firing such weaponry is "a lot of fun. It's a really cool thing to do. Our folks love it."

The Asheville area is home to a key congressional race. Republicans have high hopes of winning the House seat of Rep. Heath Shuler, a "Blue Dog" Democrat who is retiring.

Bilello said she does not believe the fundraiser is in poor taste, following high-profile mass shootings such as the one in a Colorado movie theater that left 12 people dead. She told the Asheville paper that if someone had been armed in the Aurora theater, then the accused shooter, James Holmes, could have been stopped sooner.

"Our founders wanted to make sure we could protect ourselves," Bilello is quoted as saying.

President Obama and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have both rejected calls for tougher gun laws that have come since the Aurora massacre and a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

GOP House candidate Mark Meadows, who is vying to succeed Shuler, told the Asheville Citizen-Times that he hopes the Machine Gun Social "will raise a lot of money for the Tea Party. And certainly if they are not breaking the law, it would be appropriate."

Meadows has been endorsed by the Asheville Tea Party PAC. He is running against Democrat Hayden Rogers.

(A hat tip to our On Deadline colleague Doug Stanglin for sharing this item.)

By Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

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