Neighbors criticize Troy church weapon giveaway

[anvplayer video=”5175816″ station=”998132″]

The pastor of a controversial church giveaway in Troy is defending the prize options.

For several years now, the Grace Baptist Church has given away an AR-15.

The pastor of the church is John Koletas. He says that as part of the church’s anniversary celebration this summer, a raffle winner will have a choice of either an AR-15 or a flamethrower.

Over the weekend, we asked him why he thought it was necessary to give away a gun.

“Because I think everyone ought to have a gun. I think everyone ought to have the right to defend themselves,” he said.

“Obviously we’re getting attention whether we want it or not, but it’s just to be a blessing for people who hunt,” Koletas said.

NewsChannel 13 also heard from several neighbors in the area who criticized Grace Baptist Church.

“It makes me very nervous because you’re promoting violence,” a neighbor named Nora said. “It’s not a high-crime area over here, but I can definitely see a lot of suspicious characters coming over here just to get a gun and we don’t know what they’re using them for.”

Outside the church, there was a sign on the door that read, “This is NOT a gun-free zone. ” People in the neighborhood say the sign scares them, especially after many shootings this year in the country.