Last updated 11:22AM ET
August 23, 2014
Local Features
Local Features
TN 8th District Congressional Candidate Raffles Gun
(2010-07-07)
(wkms) - Tennessee likes its guns. Last year, the legislature passed laws allowing guns in bars, restaurants, and in parks. At least one congressional candidate has decided tap into that enthusiasm, and raffle off a semi-automatic rifle. Candice Ludlow reports.

Donn Janes is not your typical candidate. He's not running on the Republican or the Democratic ticket, but he is running as an Independent candidate for the 8th congressional district of Tennessee.

His fundraising method is a little different than most political candidates. He's selling raffle tickets to "Buy a Chance to Win an AR-15," a semiautomatic rifle.

Janes says he got the idea from Facebook and a gun store in Brighton, Tennessee. "There was a young lady who raffled off a handgun, and I'm trying to think what race she was in. I think she was in Texas. I saw it on Facebook, and that's what got me thinking about it." Janes explains, "Again, Texas, Tennessee. We've got the same take on the Second Amendment here."

The Second Amendment gives you the right to bear arms, but it doesn't mention raffling a rifle.

Tennessee's Secretary of State Tre Hargett says it's legal to raffle a gun. He says the state doesn't care what the prize is. Here's the catch. Only registered non-profit organizations are allowed to hold raffles.

"And it's not registered as a 501 c 3," Hargett said. "You nor I, or both of together, we cannot go out tomorrow and have a raffle to raise money for a political campaign or any other activity. It's against the law."

It may be against the law, but Janes says he's sold hundreds of tickets at $10 a pop. When asked if he'll will shut down the raffle, Hargett says it's not in his jurisdiction. It's up to the district attorney or Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

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