‘This is a horrible plan to raise funds for youth baseball…’
(John Wynne, Liberty Headlines) The East Canton Youth Baseball Association has discovered a novel way of raising money: with a gun raffle, reports Cleveland 19 News.
Included in the raffle is a rifle, a shotgun, a handgun, and an AR-15.
David Spencer, the association president, said this is the fifth consecutive year of the association having the raffle.
Typically, the fundraiser brings in $5,000, allowing for registration fees to be kept to a minimum.
Apparently, the fundraisers – which have included an AR-15 each year running – have succeeded.
Enrollment increased from 60 children in 2012 to around 140 for the 2018 season.
Spencer told Cleveland 19 News that no one is required to sell any raffle tickets and that all tickets are signed out by parents.
In addition, each raffle winner must pass a federal background check before getting a gun.
But not everyone is happy with the gun raffle.
On Facebook, Cleveland 19 News posted about the fundraiser and asked for viewers’ opinions on the matter, writing: “Are you OK with the assault rifle rally?”
Several of the responses were quite critical.
“Totally amazed that our area has been besieged by kids committing suicide and a kids [sic] organization is raffling off guns,” wrote one commenter.
Another commenter responded: “Reality check, how insensitive can these promoters be too [sic] current events of kids shooting kids to vent their frustrations of life! Absolutely this is a horrible plan to raise funds for youth baseball.”
Yet another Facebook user called the raffle “pathetic”, adding: “Guns have no business even being a small part of a youth sports program. This league obviously values money over lives. The East Canton Youth Baseball Association has to be run by completely disgusting, uneducated and immoral yahoos.”
“Kids need a gun of any kind like they need a hole in their heads,” opined another user.
“Not the best time for this,” wrote another.
The anger was not limited to Facebook. On Twitter, a user tweeted about the fundraiser: “My cousins (3 and 5 years old) go to East Canton and they just brought home a packet for T-ball and are asking people to buy raffle tickets to win guns … DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE THE PROBLEM WITH THIS?!”
A Twitter user with the name “BlueWave2018VoteDems” responded to a tweet about the raffle and also tweeted to anti-gun activist David Hogg, apparently in an effort to bring the story to his attention.
“This is not a joke!” tweeted @SexyRebel2017, who implored Canton residents to “speak your outrage & stop the #EastCantonYouthBaseballAssociation. #NeverAgain.”
Another Twitter user, possibly referring to the Canton fundraiser, tweeted: “My coworker just told me about a raffle she was at for her son’s little league baseball team, where some of the items in the raffle were guns. How is that okay?”
The user used the hashtag “GunControlNow.”
Despite these posts from outraged users of social media, the responses on Facebook to the gun raffle appeared to be running overwhelmingly positive, with many users taking issue with Cleveland 19 News’s characterization of the AR-15 as an “assault rifle.”
“Great way to get people to buy tickets,” conveyed one user, expressing what appeared to be by far the most common sentiment in the comments section on the Facebook post. “Nothing wrong with this raffle prize.”