AR-15 Rifle Raffle For El Reno Youth Football Team Sparks Online Debate
EL RENO, Oklahoma - People are sounding off on the News 9 Facebook page, over fundraisers for youth sports. A football team for 6-year-old boys in El Reno is raffling off an AR-15 right now.
Rifle raffles remain very popular in Oklahoma, benefiting everyone from law enforcement to youth sports teams.
“My stomach dropped,” Jade Courtney recalled after seeing the flyer online. “I was very startled, especially to hear that it was my hometown for little kids football, and that type of gun.”
Courtney said the fear after the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso is still too fresh, for herself and her friends.
“They’re afraid that somebody is going to come after them because of their skin color, and that’s the most terrifying thing of all,” she told me.
Courtney added that she refuses to spend time in a public place like Walmart anymore, but on Facebook she faced a different perspective.
“Someone responded that a gun would sell faster than something like a certificate for a free haircut or for a cooler,” she said, “and that baffled me.”
The owners of Gene Sears Supply in El Reno, which is supplying the AR-15 in question, said these fundraisers are common.
“Two or three times a week,” admitted Gene’s son Garland.
The Sears family has run the gun shop since the 60s, and Garland told me no rifle is in higher demand.
“In the central part of the United States, it’s the gun of choice,” he said.
The winner of the raffle has to be 21 or older and pass a background check, which relies heavily on honesty.
“You can’t buy one for somebody else,” Garland explained. “That’s what that guy in Ohio did the other day.”
He contended that this raffle and other fundraisers like it are for a good cause.
“It supports the youth groups on the football team,” he said, “but a lot of those kids grow up to become shooters. Then we can sell them a gun.”
And he does not think the culture will change any time soon.