Troy pastor’s AR-15 assault rifle giveaway creates controversy
The pastor of a Lansingburgh Baptist church plans to give away an AR-15 assault rifle to the winner of a free raffle at an upcoming Sunday service.
A provocative flier he distributed rallied supporters of gun rights and stirred controversy among anti-gun advocates and some who considered it un-Christian.
The Rev. John Koletas, pastor of Grace Baptist Church, said the service and gun raffle are aimed at “honoring hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years,” according to a letter he posted on the church website.
Koletas, who works as a Rensselaer County court reporter, said he wanted to show support for Second Amendment rights.
“I’m just trying to be a blessing and a help to the gun owners and the hunters and give away a free AR-15,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
He said the constitutional right to own a gun should not be abridged, any more than First Amendment rights should be.