Never Been To A Gun Raffle? Head To Manvel

Feeling lucky? Got $30? Get a gun.

The Manvel Lions Club is raffling 100 hunting rifles and tickets are just $30 each during the "Hunters Night on the Town" fundraiser October 25. The money raised (in the neighborhood of $100,000) will help build a Little League field in Brazoria County.

Now, you have to be eligible to get a federal firearms license before you receive your gun (if you’re a felon, you can get a gift certificate instead). And you don’t get to pick what gun you win. “If you’re the 15th ticket pulled, you get the 15th gun,” Lions Club member Tom Amundsen tells us. “I don’t know right off hand what the 15th gun is …”

It’s a semi-automatic 12 gauge, we tell him.

“Okay, you can say, ‘I don’t need a semi-automatic 12 gauge right now, I’d rather have something else.’ And you’ll get a credit for the amount we paid for the gun.”

(Hey, who doesn’t need a semi-automatic 12 gauge?)

The raffle is in its seventh year, and has grown from 25 guns to the present 100 firearms. The event is one of the Lions Club main fundraisers. But they don’t take credit for the idea. “Actually, we copied it from the Knights of Columbus over in Willis,” Amundsen tells us.

The Lions Club funds a variety of causes. Right now they’re working on the Little League field, but in the past, they’ve helped get dogs for the blind, provided playground equipment for special needs children, assisted Meals-on-Wheels and funded programs at a local battered women’s shelter.

Amundsen admits the event, however popular in Manvel, might be less well thought of out of Brazoria County. “No question there are some people that raise an eyebrow,” he says. “We’re a charitable organization doing good in the community and then we’re sending guns out into the community. All I can say is hunting is a foundation in our country. These are hunting rifles that we’re raffling off. Of course, for people who anti-hunters, this won’t sit well with them, but nothing to do with hunting would, not just our gun raffle.

And does Amundsen see any irony in raffling guns to help battered women?

“No, I don’t think there’s any irony to that,” he says evenly. “You could say the same thing if we were raffling a Corvette. A husband could run over his wife with the Corvette he won. Guns don’t batter women, men batter women."

-- Olivia Flores Alvarez

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