Gun bash targets Polish club expenses

| Friday, May 14, 2010

Members of the Trafford Polish Club are hoping the chance to win some guns will help reload the club's bank account.

The group will hold a gun bash Saturday to help cover the club's everyday operating expenses and go toward its dues with the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America, said Regis Surmacz, the club's financial secretary and steward.

"Hopefully this'll help us bring in some extra money and help us keep the doors open," Surmacz said.

Club management had been considering this kind of event for a while, he said.

"If it goes well, we might have as many as two per year," Surmacz said. "If not, who knows?"

Tickets cost $20. The fee gets ticket holders into the bash, where food and beer will be served. Each ticket contains two numbers; based on those numbers, ticket holders can win one of 12 specialty guns. There also will be several 50-50 drawings.

The Polish Club is licensed. Guns will be supplied by Reese Grocery & Supply in Smithfield, Surmacz said.

Wayne Resse, one of the proprietors of Reese Grocery & Supply, will run the show.

"It's a good fundraiser for fire companies and organizations like this one," Reese said, before explaining that the event in Trafford will include a cash drawing every half hour and a gun drawing every half hour from 1 to 7 p.m.

The main drawing, Reese said, is for a Weatherby stainless steel rifle with a scope. That drawing takes place at 7 p.m.

"That's a pretty mean gun right there," Reese said, who noted that the gun retails for $900.

Those who win a gun must go through a background check as mandated by federal law. Winners are required to show a driver's licenses to Reese, who will run it through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Winners who are not approved instead will get cash in the amount of the full value of the gun.

Rules for gun ownership are relatively complicated, but some basic rules are that federal law prohibits those convicted of a felony from possessing a gun or ammunition. Also, some misdemeanor domestic battery charges result in losses of gun rights.

Reese said people occasionally try to get around these rules by asking a spouse or friend without a criminal record to accept the gun they've won, but that's a major no-no -- a "straw purchase."

"Ninety-five percent of the people who win guns at our events are clean," Reese said. "But every now and then, we find people who aren't. So they'll get money instead of a gun."

Surmacz hopes the event goes well.

"This is designed so we'll have money to run our own operations and so that we'll be able to donate more to the community," he said.

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