N.H. GOP’s fundraiser to pack heat

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MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) – The city’s Republican Committee is planning a fundraiser that will pack some heat.

Manchester Republicans say they wanted something different from the usual chicken dinner for its fundraiser next month. Then committee chairman Jerry Thibodeau, a hunter and skeet shooter, came up with the idea: “The thought just struck me one day: a machine gun shoot. What the heck?”

The event is planned for next month at the Pelham Fish and Game Club. Those who attend will get the chance to shoot Uzis, M-16 rifles and other automatic weapons.

The club will have 20 safety officers on hand to load the guns and monitor shooters, said club chairman Bob Shaunessy.

Thibodeau said he thinks the fundraiser will be a fun social event that also will emphasize the party’s support for Second Amendment rights. Thibodeau said he fired a machine gun for the first time at 18 with his father, a World War II veteran.

“It’s a way of expressing yourself, I guess,” he said. “We all have a little testosterone in us, right?”

Yet many of those signing up are women.

“It’s very different,” said Kelly Hurst, the Manchester GOP’s executive director. Hurst said she carries a pistol for personal protection but the chance to shoot a machine gun is very different.

“I don’t know when anyone else, man or woman, may get an opportunity to do this,” she said.

Manchester Democrats are upset by the Republicans’ shooting event.

Chris Pappas, chairman of the Manchester Democratic Committee, said it’s inappropriate to hold a fundraiser involving guns when the violent crime is on the rise in the city.

He said the event is “not just in poor taste; it is downright offensive.”

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