Updated: 03/05/2014 5:48 PM
Created: 03/05/2014 5:45 PM WNYT.com
By: Kumi Tucker
TROY - Grace Baptist Church wants to bring people in for a Sunday service later this month.
It sent out this flyer that says, "Win a free AR-15" and "...my peace I give unto you..." John 14:27
The church will be giving away what is described as a New York legally-modified gun. At the bottom of the flyer, it says that all applicants will be subjected to a federal background check.
The church is in the district of Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin, who will be speaking at the upcoming event.
"It's a legal product. Churches raffle off items all the time. My church has a $10,000 raffle every single year. I mean, I don't know how it's a controversy, quite honestly, that law-abiding, church-going citizens of New York that are legal gun owners are taking part in a raffle to raise funds for a church," said Assemblyman McLaughlin (R - Melrose). "I don't know why that's controversial."
For the gun giveaway, Grace Baptist reserves the right "to disqualify people of questionable character."
Another Troy pastor, Willie Bacote, has been active in trying to get guns out of his community.
"Even though they have the disclaimer there of questionable character and background checks, I don't believe the church should serve in that capacity of arming people in any particular way, except through the word of God," said Pastor Bacote of the Missing Link Ministry.
Troy City Councilwoman Lynn Kopka said that in a time of increasing gun violence, there just has to be a better way to get people to worship.
Captain John Cooney, Troy Police spokesman, sent us a statement: "We recognize the uniqueness of the gun giveaway and expect full compliance by the Church relative to all applicable rules and guidelines attached to the matter. We balance our oversight with respect of the 2nd Amendment rights provided to our citizens; the United States Constitution is the foundation of the work we do."