Local fundraiser for NRA causes controversy

Local activists are not happy about a fundraiser being held at the Aqua Turf Club (WFSB)

There’s controversy surrounding an event being held at Southington’s iconic Aqua Turf Club.

The family-owned business has been hosting events for over 50 years, but the timing of Friday evening’s fundraiser is an issue with local gun violence prevention advocates.

Friday’s event is a fundraiser that benefits the NRA.

Local gun violence prevention advocates are now calling for schools to cancel proms being held at Southington’s Aqua Turf, and are using social media to voice those concerns.

“Holding a fundraiser to raise money for this group basically is funding the ability for dangerous people to harm our children and families and the nation,” said Po Murray, of Newtown Action Alliance.

He said on Saturday, eight buses from Newtown are carrying 200 students to the March For Our Lives event in Washington D.C.

The Aqua Turf’s general manager said the venue has never been political.

Both Democratic and Republican party officials often rent the venue for fundraisers as well, but that doesn’t change the way advocates feel about the event hosted by the Friends of the NRA.

“After the most horrific tragedy that occurred in this nation, we need corporations and businesses to distance themselves from the NRA,” Murray said.

A representative for the Friends of the NRA said the timing of the event is nothing more than a coincidence, saying:“This particular event was scheduled over a year ago and has absolutely nothing to do with anything regarding any other event going on anywhere. This event has occurred every year for over 25 years at the same time of year.”Guns are being raffled off during the event, but the Aqua Turf says the guns will not be distributed at the venue. They will go to gun stores and be picked up there.

Neighbors told Channel 3 that they think that the Aqua Turf management are not doing anything wrong.

"I believe they should be able to hold the event, they've been doing it for 25 years," said Southington resident, Megan Halloran. "The timing isn't ideal but, if they've been doing it for so long, they should be able to do it as they please."

The general manager here says they’re committed to the community, they’ve donated over $60,000 in response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook and they’ve been donating to local schools and sports programs as well.

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