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Gun raffle for police academy fundraiser moving forward; opponents look to next year

A Nottingham man seeking to stop the raffle of 31 guns in May has now offered to help the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police raise money in the future.

Robert Sprague took up the cause of stopping the gun raffle after reading about the fundraiser for the chiefs’ cadet academy. The raffle is scheduled to award a gun to one winner each day in the month of May, but all tickets sold out within two weeks of the Jan. 1 sale.

Sprague wrote a letter to the Monitor offering his services as a retired professional fundraiser to raise $30,000 for the academy if the association would cancel the raffle, saying it was disrespectful in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. More than 200 people signed an online petition promising to donate if the raffle were canceled.

“These guys are supposed to be peace officers, and we don’t want 31 weapons put on our streets,” Sprague said Monday.

After talking yesterday with Salem police Chief Paul Donovan, Sprague said he is instead focused on the future.

“I understand the chief is contractually obligated at this point. This raffle has been set and if he were to stop it, they would probably sue. That’s a real issue,” Sprague said.

“We are talking now about moving forward, what are we going to do next year. I’m hopeful that he will be interested in allowing us to next year provide him with some fundraising so he doesn’t have to do this again.”

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

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