Update: Accokeek VFD Postpones Gun Bash
The inaugural event raised some eyebrows and now the event is postponed.
Update, 11:05 p.m.: The Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department is postponing its first gun bash after learning their permit would not suffice, according to their website.
Accokeek VFD President Glenn Sherman wrote the following on the fire department's website.
To the Loyal Supporters of the Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department:
It is with deep regret, that we must post-pone the Gun Bash Fundraiser event scheduled for tomorrow, October 27, 2012. The Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department currently holds an event permit and we were under the impression that this permit would suffice. However, at 6pm this evening, we were notified by Prince Georges County that we did not have the proper permit.
The tentative reschedule date is Saturday, December 8, 2012.
If you chose to have your ticket refunded, we will certainly do so, otherwise your ticket will be valid for the event in December. Please contact Josh Carlson at (240)427-6267 for a full refund.
Again, we deeply regret any inconvenience this may have caused and look forward to seeing you all in December.
Glenn Sherman, President
Original Post, 1:30 p.m.: The Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department is hoping its first gun bash Saturday will help raise funds to rehabilitate a firetruck and it is going ahead with the event despite county fire officials' opposition.
AVFD Capt. Joshua Carlson said Friday that the department got the idea to raffle off guns and other prizes from other firehouses that do similar events.
“Southern Maryland has a very big hunting community,” Carlson said, “and this type of event has a huge following.”
The fire department has $22,000 in prizes to raffle off, including 21 long guns, used as hunting rifles, handguns as well as four cash prizes.
The event will be held on the AVFD property on Livingston Road, which the firehouse owns independently from the county.
Prince George’s County Fire Spokesman Mark Brady learned about the event Friday morning and said that the county fire department is “so against this.”
Brady said PGFD tried unsuccessfully to stop the gun bash and spoke to the Prince George's County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association. He said that because the event is legal and being held on AVFD-owned property, the county has no jurisdiction.
“It’s just the fact that firearms and weapons will be sold from a public safety facility, when other county agencies are trying to take guns off the streets,” Brady said.
In June, the Prince George’s County Police Department held a “Gift Cards for Guns” program to encourage gun owners to turn in weapons without punishment.
Although Brady acknowledged that the AVFD will be taking every safety precaution and ammunition won’t be sold, he said the county fire department does not support the event.
“I believe Accokeek will do everything to make sure this is a safe event,” Brady said.
Brady said no county firefighters would be working at the event.
Carlson said that the AVFD is working with a licensed arms dealer, Target Acquired, which will be conducting background checks on the individuals who win guns.
Attendees will have to show identification and no one under the age of 18 is allowed to attend. Winners will not receive their hunting rifles until they leave and the handguns will be delivered at a later date after full federal background checks are completed.
“I’ve been hunting since I was a little kid and growing up in society today, guns are there," Carlson said.
He said that security has been hired to work at the fundraiser, just as at other events the AVFD hosts such as Bingo nights.
County police officers can serve as off-duty security detail at county events, but Julie Parker, lead spokeswoman for the Prince George's County Police Department, said, “There will be no Prince George’s County police officers working at that event."
For a $40 ticket, patrons can enter and take part in the all-you-can-eat event. Doors open at noon and at 1 p.m. organizers will be “giving away guns every 10 minutes,” according the AVFD event website.
There will be a pull tab raffle for four handguns and three $250 cash prizes and one $1,000 cash prize will be given.
Although Carlson said he doesn’t know how much money will be raised, he said a firetruck rehab can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000.
“So, we’re hoping to raise a part of that Saturday,” he said.
Carlson said that although he can understand the concern about the event, the fire department is being cautious.
“It’s not like we’re inviting everyone off the streets and saying, ‘Here, you have a gun,’” he said. “Guns don’t kill; people kill people. We’re not promoting gun violence, but this isn’t going to appeal to everyone.”