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Monday, February 27, 2006

As Clemson student's gun raffle begins, some Tigers up in arms

Students, faculty plan protests of newspaper's AK-47 giveaway

With the date of the Tiger Town Observer's AK-47 drawing approaching, opposition to the event among students and faculty is mounting at Clemson University.

The Observer, Clemson's conservative student newspaper, is holding a drawing for an AK-47 rifle and a .22 Magnum Marlin rifle in celebration of the Second Amendment today through March 2.

Andrew Davis, editor of the Tiger Town Observer, said the paper has spoken to everyone from Clemson University President James Barker to the local police chief for permission to hold the drawing.

Davis said that while Clemson's administration does not voice outright support of the drawing, they have made it clear that it may take place as long as all campus, state and federal laws are obeyed.

The Observer has been informed of a group of faculty members planning to petition President Barker to stop the event. In addition to the faculty petition, a group of students opposed to the idea have also emerged in an attempt to start another petition.

"Students and faculty have a constitutional right to protest, and we encourage and commend them for doing so," Davis said.

However, what began as a petition is beginning to escalate into something that Davis calls "sabotage."

"We want to beat them at their own game," said Aimee McLaughlin, a third-year communications student at Clemson. "At this point, protesting will not accomplish our ultimate goal. We are basically organizing as many people as possible to enter this drawing to try and win the gun. The Observer is making their statement, and now we want to win the gun and make ours."

Davis said a group of faculty members is taking the same approach.

"We welcome a protest, but to sabotage a drawing like this is sick," Davis said. "There is a big difference between sabotage and a protest. A faction of the faculty is out to decide what is best for Clemson, and that is not up to them."

Because of South Carolina's anti-raffle laws, students and members of the community are welcome to enter the drawing with a suggested donation of $5.

"If they enter and win it is fine, as long as that is their intention," Davis said. "If they exploit the archaic anti-lottery laws then they are a fraud and enemies of the Constitution."

Davis said The Observer will publicize any contention from faculty and students.

"We have national media contacts that would love to hear that Clemson faculty are enemies of the Constitution," Davis said. "They are taking away from free speech, democracy in Iran, and from the students who are wanting to participate in this celebration of the Second Amendment."

Proceeds will go toward The Observer and an advocacy group for democracy in Iran.

The drawing begins today and is open to any students and members of the Clemson community. Those entering must be at least 18 years of age, have no criminal record, and must be eligible to own a firearm.

Jeff's Soapbox Opinion and Note to those whose firearm knowledge is limited.

This AK-47 is not an assault rifle. It is not even a true AK-47. It is a semi-automatic copy of the weapon invented by Mikhail Kalashnikov for the Russian Military in 1947.

"Semi-Automatic"means that you get one bang for one pull of the trigger. It does not "spray bullets" everywhere. It is not a "machine gun". It is functionally no different than the tube fed 22 rifles many of us had as kids. It is no more powerful than say, your father's or grandfather's thirty-aught six ( 30-.06) deer rifle.

The protestors kept complaining that the AK is not a suitable weapon for a raffle while the 22 Magnum is. This is ludicrous, because the 22 Magnum is a powerful round, capable of killing just a quickly as the AK. The difference here is that the 22 does not look mean. It looks like what people think a hunting rifle should look like. The AK however looks mean, it looks like a weapon of a gang banger, or a criminal (ironic since the FBI's Uniform Crime Report shows that they are involved in only a very small percentage of violent crime)

My soapbox opinion is that this is a great way for a rural college to raise money. Let them have their raffle, and someone goes home with a nice rifle or two.


At 9:42 AM, Blogger B O B said...

Hi Jeff, the weapons I would be more concerned about is guns that are easily concealed.

Not that I am opposed to concealed weapons, but they are the ones that are used in the majority of the crimes.


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