JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It may sound like a dream come true for a gun collector, but the path to a new customized AR-15 could begin with a flier and a ticket.
"These are guns that are collector's items. A lot of people collect AR-15s," said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters.
This all comes courtesy of the fire union. Ten dollars gets someone a ticket, and if that person's name is drawn, they're given the lower receiver, plus a $1,200 credit to a local gun shop.
From there, they can custom build their own gun.
Wyse says the money will go to benefit the union. When asked why an AR-15, he said that's what the members want most.
"Our guys are, again, tough budget times," Wyse said. "We've taken pay cuts and all those kinds of things. I can't spend that kind of money on that, but I'd be willing to pay $10 at a chance to win one of those guns."
Gun experts say the standard AR-15 shoots a 5.5 to 6 mm bullet and has a magazine that holds about 30 rounds.
But the thought of raffling a high-powered assault rifle could be troubling for some, especially in light of recent tragedies. As it turns out, the Fraternal Order of Police Associates is doing something similar.
Channel 4 crime and safety analyst Ken Jefferson says they can never know for sure where or with whom the gun will end up.
"Weapons don't do anything by themselves. It's once it gets into the hands of the wrong people, is what makes these weapons very dangerous," Jefferson said. "You could buy a weapon or you can win a raffle with a weapon and someone steals it."
Wyse says he isn't ignorant to that possibility. He says no matter what, he's certain the gun will wind up with a good guy.
"It's going to end up in the hands of a hero, basically," Wyse said. "We hope either a police officer or a firefighter, and they're only going to use it for target practice or hunting."
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