AP NEWS

Leechburg fire company’s gun raffle fundraiser draws hundreds

November 27, 2018

Gun enthusiasts on Saturday packed the Leechburg Volunteer Fire Company truck building for the company’s biannual Gun and Cash Raffle, enjoying food, music, camaraderie, and, of course, guns.

“If you’re a gun person, it’s fun,” David Krafick of Leechburg said. “It’s an awesome event.”

The fire company has been hosting gun and cash raffles for at least 10 years to generate money for the fire department. They’re held twice a year, in November and in April. Combined, they bring in about $20,000 a year.

Proceeds from Saturday’s event also will go toward Leechburg Area Youth Baseball and the Leechburg Area Pool.

“We’ve been very successful with it,” said John A. Foster, first assistant fire chief and vice president.

The raffles are the biggest fundraisers for the fire company, which is mostly self-funded. It costs $20 to get in, and no one under 21 is allowed.

Winners receive guns or cash. None of the guns at the events are sold, only raffled.

Whoever wins a gun has to undergo a background check. If the winner doesn’t pass it, they are given the cash value of the gun.

“The gun dealer, Veronesi Gunworks, brings two guys and that’s all they do all day,” Foster said.

Featured raffles include the Main Ticket raffle, included with the $20 admission, 50-50 and Pick of the Table.

“We have a $3, a $4 and a $5 table. You buy a ticket, if you win that ticket, you get to pick any gun off of that table. There’s probably 10 or 15 guns on each table,” Foster said.

A Winchester Model 70 30.06; Colt AR-15 5.56; Henry Golden Boy; and a Smith & Wesson 629 .44 Magnum were some of the firearms up for raffle.

Jeffrey Horan, 65, of Harrison has been to a few of the fire company’s gun and cash raffles. He said he likes being with people who have similar interests, the guns, and the chance of winning.

The events also feature food, beer and music. Food and beer is included with admission.

“We try to entertain them; we try to play music and keep everybody upbeat and happy,” Foster said.

Foster said stricter gun control laws could hurt the raffles, which are popular. About 500 people attend each one, and there have been instances where it has been standing-room only.

“That would hurt us -- that would really hurt us -- if we had to stop doing these,” he said.