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A North Carolina nonprofit that raises money for young athletes and cheerleaders sparked a backlash after offering a rifle as a prize in a fundraising raffle.
The raffle held by the East Henderson Youth Football and Cheerleading League (EHYFCL) in East Flat Rock, North Carolina, drew criticism from some locals for offering the winner an FN15 Patrol Carbine, according to local ABC affiliate WLOS.
“We are not offering an assault rifle; we are offering an FN15 patrol carbine,” an EHYFCL spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “This is an Armalite 15 style rifle, not fully automatic, which by definition excludes it from being classified as an assault rifle. We are following all ATF guidelines; item is held in an FFL, recipient must complete an ATF Form 4473 and pass a NICS background check before taking possession of it.
Some critics took issue with the choice of award, believing it to be inappropriate for a little league. The East Henderson League soccer players are between the ages of 5 and 13, and the cheerleading squad members are between the ages of 4 and 13, according to the organization.
“Honestly, I was shocked when I got the message that kids were going to sell an assault rifle because of what was happening in schools across the country,” a concerned anonymous parent told WLOS. Another local parent who wished to remain anonymous said: “I thought it was in very bad taste that they chose a weapon that is used against children.”
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The group also drew criticism from users on Facebook, who said the raffle was everything from “sad” and “bad” to “disgusting” and “deplorable.”
EHYFCL leaders also responded to the criticism in a Facebook post Thursday, writing “in response to complaints made publicly and ‘anonymously’ regarding our raffle.”
Explaining that they are currently accepting applications for an official fundraiser, the group wrote, “If you have a surefire way to raise enough money quickly to get you through the rest of the season and still have enough to start the next season, we need you.” use that energy in a positive way.
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Explaining that their organization is not affiliated with the school district or county, the group said, “Referees are not volunteers, [law enforcement officers] and the first responders for children’s safety are not volunteers.”
“The use of the field, the stadium and the facilities is not free, lost uniforms, face masks, chinstraps, earmuffs, ties and socks are not free,” the group continued. “Equipment is not free, insurance is not free, and all the other fees the league has to pay are not imaginary.”
“If we don’t raise enough money, we are forced to raise fees,” the organization’s leaders added.
EHYFCL told WLOS that they “are currently fundraising to purchase new equipment and have the ability to sponsor children in our community who cannot afford registration fees.”
The winner of the raffle must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check, a spokesperson for the league further explained, adding that “the AR raffle has been held three years in a row and brings the most support we’ve ever had.” Dyed”.
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The controversial raffle in Henderson County, North Carolina, comes months after an AR-15 raffle to benefit Chase High School wrestlers in neighboring Rutherford County was suspended amid concerns about the increase in armed violence throughout the country.