A Neosho, Missouri, baseball team for seven to nine-year-old players is raffling an AR-15 to raise money for the team.
The AR-15 was donated by Black Rain Ordinance Inc., and tickets cost $5 apiece.
The Kansas City Star reports that team coach Levi Patterson has received numerous harsh and negative messages since launching the raffle, but noticed that ticket purchases increased with the vitriol. Negative posts on Facebook convinced people as far away as Colorado to buy tickets in order to fund the Missouri team.
One of the negative messages was posted to Patterson’s Facebook page by someone going by the name Dan Weaver after the Florida school shooting. Weaver wrote, “Are you all tone deaf? AR-15 kills seventeen so you raffle a gun for child sports? Lord, people wake the hell up. Justify all you want but you are wrong, period.”
Others complained that children were being forced to sell raffle tickets for a “killing machine.”
Patterson responded to the naysayers, writing, “We appreciate your ‘concern’ but please understand, we are not, have not, and will not force one of our boys to sell raffle tickets for the Black Rain AR15 Spec 15, if they are uncomfortable doing so.”
The raffle was planned before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week, and normal background check procedures will still apply for the prize winner.
The winner of the rifle will be announced March 17.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.