While there is a 5th Commandment that states “Thou shall not kill;” there’s no prohibition against owning a gun.

However you have to wonder how proper it is for a church to raffle off a semiautomatic weapon – an M&P semiautomatic rifle, the Smith and Wesson version of the AR-15 that was used in the Sandy Hook massacre – in order to bolster attendance at its services.

Sends a mixed message, does it not?

The winner of the weapon, 42 year old Ron Stafford of Schenectady went the extra mile by driving 25 miles to the church, and sitting through the 3 hour service to win the rifle that he valued at anywhere between 800 and 12 hundred dollars.

According to this from the NY Daily News, Stafford said:

“I believe it’s the right of the individual, I believe the church and our God-given rights and our rights to follow the Constitution go hand in hand,” said Stafford, who doesn’t even belong to Grace Baptist Church in upstate Lansingburgh.

“I like to shoot. “I believe that this shows the will of the people and what this country is all about.”

However, he castigated the media for “demonizing” gun owners and the government for “trampling” on Second Amendment rights.

“I’ve been around weapons my whole life, since I was probably around 4 or 5 years old,” he said. “And I believe it’s been portrayed silly by the media.”

Stafford, a single dad with two teenage sons, must clear a FBI background check before collecting the rifle from Oakwood Trading Post, a Troy gun dealer that sponsored the event.

I see nothing wrong with a law-abiding citizen who has all the necessary qualifications owing a weapon and being able to defend him or herself. It’s there in black and white in the Constitution.

But on the face of it, the message this pastor is sending is dubious indeed.