US church offers AR-15 assault rifles as raffle prizes less than week after Las Vegas shooting

A US church is facing criticism after it offered two semi-automatic assault rifles as a raffle prize less than a week after America was hit by the worst mass shooting in its modern history.

Oasis Church of All Nations in Oxford, Mississippi, used children to sell raffle tickets at $10 each to raise funds for an addiction recovery course with two AR-15 rifles as the top prizes, according to the Washington Post. The same weapon was among those used the previous Sunday to kill 58 people and injure more than 500 at a shooting in Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

ReutersFamilies of children who died at the Connecticut elementary school shooting have blamed the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle for being the common link in many US mass killings, saying it is recklessly marketed for its 'capacity to inflict mass casualties'.

One local resident, Kris Belden-Adams, who saw the raffle display at her local mall, said: 'We have flags still half-mast for the Las Vegas shooting here in Oxford.

'I thought it was in bad taste at this time to be auctioning an AR-15, the same weapon used in Las Vegas.'

Oasis Church said the money would support its Transformations Life Centre, 'a 12-month long drug discipleship program for those addicted', with their website stating: 'All proceeds go toward the program to reach the hurting and broken of society.'

After Belden-Adams complained, Danny Budd, director of the Transformations Life Centre wrote back saying: 'We understand your concern however, we've had a very positive response to the Ticket sell and no negative response.

'We believe in the Second Amendment and the First Amendment. For some, there would never be a right time to raffle any fire arm. We respect your concern and message.'