Gun rights dinner held outside Hudson Valley draws protesters

Posted: Updated:

A benefit dinner supporting gun rights held just outside of the Hudson Valley Saturday night had some nearby residents up in arms. 

The "President Trump Thank You Dinner," which showcased assault weapons, attracted both supporters and protestors to Matamoras, Pennsylvania.

The event was held just 10 days after the Valentine's Day school shooting where 17 people, mostly students, died in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student who confessed to the shooting, used an AR-15 assault rifle in the attack. 

Reverend Sean Moon, of the religious group Rod of Iron Ministries, organized the event as a benefit for the conservative group Gun Owners of America. 

Among his followers are John Raucci of Kingston, New York.

"It's obvious that we need to protect ourselves by confronting the evil as soon as it strikes. So I think people should have guns," says Raucci. 

Organizers say they planned the event before the Parkland shooting and had intended to raffle off an AR-15. They changed the prize to a gift certificate to a nearby weapons super-store. 

MaryLou Deitrich, of Middletown, was one of a handful of protestors outside the event. 

"Disgusted is an understatement," she told News 12

Reverend Moon is also the owner of Kahr Firearms, a gun manufacturer. The church plans to hold a blessing for members who own assault rifles next week in a town near Scranton. 

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