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Illinois Little League raffle has an AR-15 assault rifle as a grand prize

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

In what may be the most tone-deaf fundraiser in recent memory, a youth baseball league in Illinois is auctioning off an AR-15 assault rifle and a 30-round magazine as a fundraiser, and they’re openly admitting that an assault rifle was chosen to help get more attention for the league.

Well, here’s more attention.

As reported by IllinoisHomepage.net and Decatur NBC affiliate WAND, the Atwood-Hammond Little League branch is holding a fundraising raffle with a grand prize of the AR rifle, an assault weapon similar to the one used in the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. It is striking that a league that serves children of the same age as those who were killed in the December massacre would choose to auction off a semiautomatic firearm as a fundraiser.

This isn't the first time a youth sports league has auctioned off assault weapons. Yet what may be more troubling this time is that the commissioner of the aforementioned league has openly stated that the semiautomatic weapon was chosen to get more “attention."

"We could have went with a basic shotgun or something simple," league commissioner Steven McClain told IllinoisHomepage.net. "But obviously it's not going to draw the attention, not going to draw the volume we're hoping to make."

While McClain chalked the choice of weapon up to attention, the co-owner of Atwood Armory, which is donating the firearm, said that the gun was selected for more practical reasons: It simply draws more bidders during charity drives.

"If we were to sell that gun in store with all the accessories and ammo with it, it would be well over $2,000," said co-owner Charidy Butcher. …

"It was never a political agenda. It is what it is. We picked the rifle that would sell the most to raise the most for these organizations," said Butcher.

There is plenty of time remaining in the raffle, which ends June 28, so whoever enters will have plenty of time to get their paperwork in order, with a FOID card and a clean background check required to walk away with the gun.

What they do with it thereafter, of course, is their own prerogative, and precisely what is so troubling for many.

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