The Panhandle Crime Stoppers chapter is running out of tickets for its newest fundraiser. It’s down to less than 200 tickets remaining in its first “gun-a-day giveaway," and wants to make the fundraiser an annual event.
"Guns are big in the area," says Panhandle Crime Stoppers Media Director Debra Peel. The organization's gun-a-day giveaway comes amid heightened tension over gun control and in the wake of several mass shootings. Peel acknowledges the moment, but says "people are free to own guns."
Crime Stoppers has modeled its program off of similar ones held by the local Rotary group, and she notes many of the chapter’s board members are NRA supporters and hunters. The guns being raffled off are rifles, shotguns, revolvers and pistols.
“Crime stoppers, as I’ve said, is a non-profit and all non-profit’s need to raise money," said the chapter's Rusty Russell, on WKGC's morning show, The Mix.
Peel says the chapter hasn’t had to advertise and the fundraiser has largely been driven by word-of-mouth. Crime Stoppers chapters across the state often hold fundraisers to supplement their grants.
The group is partnering local gun stores in Lynn Haven, Chipley, Wewahitchka and Panama City. Crime Stoppers is not posting names of winners, and is requiring background checks before the guns will be handed off to the winners.