We've heard of gun raffles and gun bingo, but this is the first we've heard of a gun and flamethrower giveaway - hosted by a church.

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While some churches are joining forces with law enforcement to conduct weapons buyback programs, one Upstate New York church is going in the complete opposite direction.

The Grace Baptist Church of Troy in New York's Capital Region has gained national attention for the event that it plans to host over this year's Fourth of July weekend.

Albany news outlet WNYT asked the church pastor, John Koletas, why he was planning to give away a gun as part of the church anniversary celebration and his reply to them was, "Because I think everyone ought to have a gun. I think everyone ought to have the right to defend themselves.

This isn't the first time that Grace Baptist Church has raised eyebrows and stirred up controversy with its gun giveaway. In 2020 during the church's annual gun giveaway, protestors showed up to make their displeasure at a gun being given away in the midst of so much gun violence known.

In 2020 when he was questioned by WNYT on why he was conducting a gun giveaway, Pastor Koletas said it was to honor both hunters and gun owners who have “been so viciously attacked by anti-Christian socialist policies.

Although giving away an AR-15 is nothing new for Grace Baptist Church, giving the winner the option of selecting a flamethrower over the AR-15 this year, is and Grace Baptist Church isn't about to be intimidated by anyone who disagrees with its choice. As a matter of fact, the Facebook page for the church is filled with posts mentioning the giveaway.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand chimed in on the giveaway saying in a social media post, "...as a person of faith, I'm personally disturbed that a church would be giving away a weapon designed to kill large numbers of people very quickly."

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