Gun Shop Raffles AR-15 to Raise Funds for Veterans Affected by PTSD

click to enlarge The AR-15 is autographed by MMA fighter Randy Couture, who runs a charity for veterans. - Ray Downs
Ray Downs
The AR-15 is autographed by MMA fighter Randy Couture, who runs a charity for veterans.

The Defensor Tactical gun shop in Valley Park is giving away an AR-15 rifle painted like an American flag to benefit a charity that helps war veterans suffering with PTSD.

"We coated the AR-15 in an American flag because the point is to be patriotic and help veterans," says Joel Fields, President of Defensor Tactical.

"The whole idea is to raise awareness. And what better way to raise awareness than with an AR-15, something soldiers are familiar with?"

Fields' store, which specializes in tactical weapons and ammunition, will announce the winner of the patriotic AR-15, signed by Army veteran and MMA champion Randy Couture on October 31. Tickets are being sold for $5 or 4 for $15. The proceeds of the raffle will go to Couture's Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation, a nonprofit that assists veterans wounded in action, as well as their families.

Couture, who spent six years in the Army during the 1980's, says his foundation's goal is to help today's soldiers coming home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"When I was in the Army, there were no wars going on. I never really had to put it on the line," says Couture, who served between 1982 and 1988. "But these guys now with the War on Terror and 9-11, are putting it on the line and a significant number of them are coming back wounded. And the huge issue we're dealing with now is the suicide rate, guys dealing with PTSD."

Supporting soldiers with PTSD by raffling off a gun may sound as logical as supporting endangered species by auctioning a permit to hunt a Black Rhino. Gun shop owners disagree. Find out why after the jump.

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