North Carolina Youth Football and Cheer Group Defend Assault Rifle Raffle

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A youth football and cheerleading group in the mountains of North Carolina is defending its assault rifle raffle against what the organization calls both public and anonymous criticism.

The East Henderson Youth Football and Cheer non-profit organization of flat rock is sells $5 raffle tickets for a chance to win a FN 15 M-LOK Patrol Carbineposted the group on Facebook.

The weapon will be raffled at halftime of a Midget League game on October 1.

East Flat Rock is about 30 miles southeast of Asheville and 100 miles west of Charlotte.

The rifle “has a AR-style magazine“, reported WLOS.

Critics of the raffle say such weapons are not appropriate as a fundraiser for young people. East Henderson league football players are between the ages of 5 and 13 and cheer squad members are between the ages of 4 and 13, depending on the organization.

“So proud (not!) to live in North Carolina,” one woman posted on Facebook in response to the draw.

“Sad,” wrote another woman on Facebook. “I can’t imagine with all the shootings in schools and with kids… bad 🙁 .”

“This is disgusting and deplorable,” posted another woman.

On Facebook Thursday, the organization responded to criticism.

“The referees are not volunteers, the (police) and child safety first responders are not volunteers,” the organization’s leaders said in the message.

“Use of the pitch, stadium and facilities are not free, lost uniforms, mouthpieces, chin straps, ear pads, bows and socks are not free,” according to the group’s message. . “Equipment isn’t free, insurance isn’t free, and any other fees the league has to pay aren’t imaginary.”

“If we don’t raise enough money, we are forced to increase the fee,” the organization’s leaders said in the Facebook post.

The group also said it was accepting applications for official fundraising.

“If you have a surefire way to raise enough money quickly to get us through the rest of the season and you still have enough to start next season, we need you to use that energy in a positive way,” according to the post.

“We are currently fundraising to buy new equipment and have the opportunity to sponsor children in our community who cannot afford the registration fees.”

The raffle winner must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check, a league spokesperson said in a statement to WLOS.

“The AR raffle has been held three years in a row and brings the most support we’ve ever had,” according to the statement.

This story was originally published September 3, 2022 12:25 p.m.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989, covering locals, towns and major news events in the area, and served as editor of the newspaper’s press office. He is currently reporting on the latest news.

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