NH Resident Seeks to Avoid Gun Raffle Through Alternative Fundraising

The Nottingham native sent a letter to Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan.

A Nottingham resident has delivered a proposal to the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police that he will work to raise the $30,000 needed for a training academy that the organization is planning to fund through a gun raffle.

Robert Sprague, who has lived in the state since 1969, said that the idea to raise money before May 1 gained traction during an interview with Concord, N.H. radio personality Arnie Arnesen. Arnesen suggested the plan on air.

Sprague has sent a letter to Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan, who is the president of the organization, to issue the request.

"We'll go to corporations and we'll go to some former political officials including Gov. Lynch who have great resources," Sprague said.

The gun raffle controversy started this month when several media outlets reported that the fundraiser being hosted by the N.H. chiefs will include semi-automatic weapons similar to those used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

The organization has sold out 1,000 raffle tickets at $30 each to raise the money needed during the raffle for the N.H. Police Cadet Training Academy. A total of 31 guns will be raffled – one for each day in May.

Sprague said that Donovan has argued that the weapons being raffled are sporting weapons.

"If the sport is killing human beings, than I guess they're sporting weapons," Sprague said.

Donovan was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday. He has previously defended the raffle in a public statement:

“While this raffle falls on the heels of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police extends their deepest sympathies to the families and first responders,” Donovan said. “New Hampshire Chiefs of Police feel the issues with these tragic shootings are ones that are contrary to lawful and responsible gun ownership.”

Sprague said that he is willing to show both Donovan and the organization that he and his cohorts – 20 "old folks" in Nottingham and Deerfield – are reaching out in good faith.

"I have a police chief in Nottingham who is a terrific guy," Sprague said. "I think they made a mistake here. We all make mistakes. I want to create an environment where Chief Donovan has a way to get out of this. I want to create an environment where he gets what he needs for his cadet program this summer."

Sprague said that he is waiting on an answer from Donovan before he starts reaching out to corporations and others who he thinks will be willing to raise the funds.

Standing behind Sprague and his commitment to raise the funds is Arnesen, who invited him on her radio show after she read a letter that Sprague wrote to the Concord Monitor.

"My question is, will (Donovan) agree that if we produce the $30,000 legally, and if the goal is to do it legally and to raise cash for his cadet camp, can we have the guns and destroy the guns?," Arnesen said.

Arnesen added that she is totally confused with the stance that the chiefs organization is taking on the raffle, considering that they stood with Gov. Lynch on the "Stand Your Ground" legislation veto in 2011.

On her radio show, which airs on 94.7 (WNHN-FM), Arnesen said that she gave an analogy on diabetes to help clarify the situation at hand.

"If I want to raise money for a good cause, which is understanding diabetes, if I sold cupcakes to raise the money to research on diabetes to get poor kids Insulin, wouldn't you think that would be a bit bizarre," she said. "The cause is right, but why the hell use the guns to do it?"

JGONH January 23, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Typical. A guy doesn't like something and wants to deny others the right to have it. Because he doesn't know or understand firearms, he labels them as items only useful for "hunting humans". I support the freedom of speech, it protects people like Mr. Sprague from commenting on a subject that he knows absolutely nothing about, causing the rest of us to plant our face into our palm and shake our heads in disbelief. However, be warned, that attempting to deny others their constitutional rights will not be tolerated. If you don't like firearms, don't own one. When you start meddling into the affairs of others in an attempt to deny others their right you become the thing the second amendment was most surely designed to protect us against.
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Well, we have an honest disagreement on this. Chief Paul Donovan has done a stupid thing. And now he is running out a bunch of his "boys" to bash me. Meanwhile, Chief Donovan does not have the courage to return my phone calls or emails. Real brave fellow, Paul Donovan. Now, as to this guns vs. automobiles as weapon idea? I agree with you. Auto's are dangerous. So what do we do. We require that they be licenced and inspected. We set up rules for driver behavior. And are you saying we shouldn't do the same with deadly firearms?
Sheila E January 23, 2013 at 04:30 PM
The people who are defending the raffle seem to be a bit snarly, it would be better for all if the discussion could stick to constructive points. Like, the point about the police being the sponsors of the raffle, so who better to do such a thing? Well, on the face of it that may be true, but think about it: did the police screen each ticket purchaser? And how would that play out? If I buy a ticket and I am on meds that keep me calm,do I have to share my confidential medical info with the seller of the ticket? And if I win the gun and give it to someone as a gift, and that someone is not stable and does something terrible, how do we track back to figure out prevention? Maybe a gun raffle isn't such a great idea.
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 04:30 PM
JGONH, the person who doesn't dare use his human name...it's you again. First, I have forgotten more about firearms than you will ever know. Second, you obviously do not know anything about the history of the Supreme Court and its willingness to control firearms in this country. Do some reading, educate yourself. I'm not "meddling", I'm trying to stop an out-of-control Police Chief from legally running guns into my community. I don't like it. It is a stupid idea. What's your real name, JGONH?
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Sheila, thank you for your sane and thoughtful comment. Your comment is squeeze between some really hateful posts. Sadly, Chief Donovan has not had the courage to return any of my calls or emails. It makes me wonder if it's about the thirty grand or if it about some old man questioning his very poor judgment. Scares me that this guy has so much power in his community.
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Jean, thank you; great ideas on your part...but take a look at all the utterly ignorant and hateful attacks the gun crowd have made on this matter. Frightening that they live amongst us.
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 04:35 PM
JGONH, the person who doesn't dare use his human name...it's you again. First, I have forgotten more about firearms than you will ever know. Second, you obviously do not know anything about the history of the Supreme Court and its willingness to control firearms in this country. Do some reading, educate yourself. I'm not "meddling", I'm trying to stop an out-of-control Police Chief from legally running guns into my community. I don't like it. It is a stupid idea. What's your real name, JGONH?
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Sheila, you are right. And how about this...Chief Donovan gives an assault rifle to a law-abiding citizen who fails to properly lock up this weapon. The law-abiding citizen's crazy relative steals the gun...and here we go. What is amazing to me about Chief Donovan's hapless apoligists is that they only care about their "rights". They just do not care about their responsibilities. Selfish children would be easier to deal with.
Riley Reid January 23, 2013 at 05:36 PM
@Robert Sprague: If I were Chief Donovan I wouldn't return your call either ! First you call the man a coward and now "he's out of control" ? You've spent way too much time on this, go outside and walk around in the cold air, it might help your brain.
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 05:58 PM
So, Riley Reed, you are a super sub for Chief Donovan, who does not have the courage or decency to talk with me. Good for you. I'm sure the Chief will reward you in some way. Let's just hope that none of the guns that Chief Donovan is running into our communities do not cause death. Let's you and I both hope that. This fellow, Chief Donovan, has made a huge error and he is ruining his organization. Many Chiefs of Police in the State are furious at him. But you, Riley Reid, are carrying his water. Again: Good for you. It's a minor role for your life, but it's something. Chief Donovan is a legal gun runner. Dangerous weapons are about to hit our streets because of him. He;s a huge part of the problem in our culture. You are a very minor part of our culture's problem. You are a hapless "yes" man.
Michael Ryan January 23, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Hi all, I understand this is a passionate subject, but please refrain from attacks back and forth in the comments. I want to promote a civil dialogue.
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Hello, Michael Ryan, whoever you are...I am a person who promised to raise $30,000 for the NH Chiefs if they would back off putting assault rifles into our communities...and I have - with your permission - been trashed by a large number of people. I have tried to answer these haters...point by point...so, Michael Ryan, please don't give me this "civil dialogue" nonsense. You and Patch have encouraged a hateful bashing of me. This is what I had hoped to avoid by talking with PAtch. I will not make the same mistake again.
JGONH January 23, 2013 at 06:31 PM
I know a lot about the history of the supreme court. Review DC vs Heller. Individual right. bang, done. Read the second amendment. "The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed". bang, done. If you don't like guns don't buy one. You have absolutely no right to try and stop any law-abiding citizen from providing guns to other law abiding citizens. You are infringing on our rights. I don't know what specific firearms are part of the raffle, or why you think they are dangerous. I suspect based on the rants they are AR or AK platform weapons, with scary features like black paint. I commend this chief, whom I have not met, for standing up and defending the constitution he swore to protect. He's a hero in my book.
Riley Reid January 23, 2013 at 06:40 PM
I'll keep my day job as a stay at home mom thanks. And I don't carry anyone's water and I find that comment very ignorant. "Many Chiefs are furious with him"? Where did you see that, name them, do you have them on speed dial? The only reward I need from Chief Donovan is one I get everyday by benefiting from living in a community that has such a great police department. I send my kids to school everyday knowing they are safe and that is very important in this day and age.
JGONH January 23, 2013 at 06:47 PM
So now you are blaming Patch because the majority of people don't agree with your tactics ? It's simple, we enjoy our rights in this country, and the great state of New Hampshire. We're insulted when somebody tries to take our rights away because they have nothing better to do.
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Oh, JGONH, it's so great that you have "your rights". What about being willing to exercise some responsibility. JGONH, what is your name? Why are you hiding? Where is your courage? The guns rights folks like you remind me of very young children.
JGONH January 23, 2013 at 08:28 PM
I'm not willing to have my house broken into because I was targeted as a gun owner like those poor folks whose names and addresses were posted in the liberal newspaper. I'm sure you are not aware but, our great state is very serious about protecting our constitutional rights, and as such no records or databases are kept of firearms/owners/license holders (159:6-a), all background check records must be purged by state statute, and do not allow gun buybacks or destruction of surrendered firearms (159:25). Perhaps you will find more support for your agenda in a state that doesn't believe in constitutional rights, such as Massachusetts or New York?
Robert Sprague January 23, 2013 at 08:40 PM
JGONH, what is your name? What are you afraid of? And if these assault rifles that Chief Donovan is giving away are involved in some horrible crime, where will you be? So that we can talk about it. Unless you come clean, and identify yourself, you are not worth responding to. My name is Robert Sprague. I live at 65 Stevens Hill Road in Nottingham, NH. Who are you, where do you live? What are you? Here's my guess: You are a little person who is afraid.
SalemResident January 24, 2013 at 12:45 AM
Since you can't seem to define assault rifle correctly I don't think anyone should take a word you say seriously. Good idea!
james thomas January 24, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Robert do you own a gun? I hope not you sound like a loose cannon why do you keep calling JGONH out for he told you he dont want people to know his name because he is a gun owner that should be good for you unless you plan on stalking him I do like the idea of raising money other ways but after hearing you i need to protect myself in case you lose it calm down these 30 guns dont even make up 1 percent of the guns in NH
Scott-NH January 24, 2013 at 04:48 AM
I do have to say, it grinds my gears that people choose to talk AT each other instead of TO each other when we need to have important discussions such as this. If someone Isn't approaching the conversion with civility, intelligence or respect for different points of views, but rather belittles or bullies, we'll never be able to have a conversation that leads to anything constructive. If the police aren't worried that those guns could come back to haunt them down the road, like in Greenland NH, when half the police force was taken down, then I say, let them have their raffle. Then again, they might be won by a single Mom who wants to protect her home and her autistic son, while also enjoying the sport of shooting. Or, most likely, they'll be won by someone, like the 99.6% of gun owners who are responsible, law abiding citizens. Depending on which side of the debate you are on, will depend on which parts of the above sentences you'll cling to. Regardless of which, lets do this constructively!
JGONH January 24, 2013 at 11:27 AM
I made the mistake of getting sucked into a trap guys. I should have researched this guy before I decided to comment. This guy is a (self proclaimed) progressive liberal, who gets involved with stuff like this nonstop. From complaining about the 'right wing' school system, to gun control, he's simply just an operative of the far far left. Here is his own description of himself on one of his blogs: "A proud progressive liberal who sees those scary Republicans and self-satisfied Blue Dog Democrats as "the problem" in our society, Robert Sprague writes about politics events in New Hampshire and the United States. He is a former large city Director of Planning & Economic Development and invested three miserable years of his life as a Vietnam-era draftee-veteran." This isn't a guy with a different point of view willing to go to the table and compromise on issues.
JGONH January 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM
I was not afraid before, but after reading some of your comments I am now. You maxed out the crazy meter in a matter of posts. Even people that would agree with your political stance will distance themselves from you because you went to rabid so quickly. Seriously, you are calling me a little person who is afraid because I enjoy the rights granted to me by the constitution?
Robert Sprague January 24, 2013 at 01:44 PM
James, I do not own a weapon, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Robert Sprague January 24, 2013 at 03:13 PM
The Chief in my town is plenty worried about Donovan running more assault weapons into our communities. I am guessing that many peace offers in New Hampshire are concerned about this. I wish they would speak out on the issue.
Robert Sprague January 24, 2013 at 03:22 PM
WOW, JGONH, what on earth did you have for breakfast...please order me a case! And here's a question: Regarding gun ownership, on which issues would you be willing to go to the table and compromise on issues. Is there any part of the Obama gun control propsal package that you might support? Please list them for us. Would you join me in raising $30,000 for Chief Donovan's Cadets? Wouldn't it be fun to work together on that? Or would you rather invest your time bashing me? One more thing, JGONH, at least I am willing to participate in this discussion using my real name. Why won't you. Let's hear a little bit about your background, your life, your politics.
JGONH January 24, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Robert, The Second Amendment says "Shall not be infringed". While I realize some liberal folks interpret that as "our way or the highway", I can't help but feel "infringe" means don't mess with it. Generally speaking, I support the law the way it is written, but I think their should be exemptions. Obviously, a felon signature writer is different from a murder, rapist, etc, but actually confined and medicated mental patients shouldn't have any weapons. When I go to the range I bring with me (10) 30 round magazines for my ar platform rifle, and (3) 25 round magazines for my .22. I bring them loaded, and when I'm done I go home. I have no interest to fire a small number of shots, then spend twenty minutes reloading magazines. Frankly, I think Obama should concentrate on the economy and our major deficit he keeps adding to. But if he's really concerned about firearms and shootings, he should probably start by educating people in inner cities that joining a gang and having a stolen gat is not cool, teach kids the dangers of handling firearms without training, and abolish laws that prevent trained people from carrying firearms in places where people could be made easy targets.
SalemResident January 24, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Here in the good ol' U S of A we have this thing called FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Maybe you have heard of it? It basically means I can say whatever I want and there is pretty much nothing you can do about it. You seem to have gone silent as far as answering the question or addressing the real problem which is basically you and your gun grabbing friends who blame guns for death. Completely inaccurate but you stick to your ... guns ... ha ... see what I did there? Yeah. So please enlighten us as to how exactly it is ok for you to compare law abiding citizens that own firearms to a complete and total nut job in desperate need of medication who murdered his mother to ILLEGALLY obtain firearms in order to carry out his massacre. Did you think I would forget that question when you attempted to derail a conversation? Nope. Still here buddy.
SalemResident January 24, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Typical that you would blame everyone and every thing but yourself Sprague. You still don't know the definition of "assault rifle" evidently. Did you ever stop to think that maybe it would be a good idea to take responsibility for your own wrong doings? Unbelievable.
Robert Sprague January 26, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Read an interesting article about average IQ of gun-owners vs non-gun-owners. Any guesses about the numbers?


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