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RI GOP criticized for gun raffle fundraiser

RI GOP criticized for gun raffle fundraiser

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Top Republicans have joined criticism of a Rhode Island GOP fundraiser raffling off guns.

The Providence Journal reports that a gun to be raffled is a version of the AR-15-style assault rifle similar to the weapon used in the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre last December.

Potential candidates for governor, including Cranston Republican Mayor Allan Fung, panned the idea.

Deputy Senate Minority Leader Dawson Hodgson, who says he's interested in running for attorney general, called the raffle "tone deaf and insensitive."

House Republican Leader Brian Newberry says he's unsure why the raffle is news, though he says reporting about it will bump up ticket sales and help raise more money.

State Republican Chairman Mark Smiley said the winners of the party's gun raffle on Sunday will have to pass background checks.

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