Church cancels teen gun giveaway

July 14, 2008 at 1:41 AM
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OKLAHOMA CITY, July 14 (UPI) -- An Oklahoma City church called off plans to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle at a weekend gathering of teenagers, the church's pastor said.

Plans called for Windsor Hills Baptist to give away the weapon as a way of encouraging attendance at the gathering but plans changed when one the event's organizers was unable to attend, KOCO 5, Oklahoma City, reported Sunday.

The church's pastor, Bob Ross, said officials anticipated hundreds of teenagers from as far away as Canada would attend.

"We have 21 hours of preaching and teaching throughout the week," Ross told KOCO 5.

The church Web site featured a video showing the shooting competition from last year's conference. A gun was given away last year, but this year organizers decided to highlight the giveaway in promotions for the conference.

Ross told the TV station the church was not "putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn't respect it who are then going to go out and kill."

The gun giveaway has been taken down from the Web site, but Ross said the church will give the gun away next year.

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