A Little League in Atwood, Illinois is holding a raffle to raise money for new equipment. The prize is a military-style AR-15 rifle — the weapon of choice for Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook Elementary Hook shooting and James Holmes in the Aurora theater shooting last year.
The assault rifle is from Atwood Armory, which partnered with the Atwood-Hammond Little League to help them improve last year’s dismal fundraising record of ten dollars. Since the raffle launched on Tuesday, the armory has apparently been flooded with calls:
“It has been going gangbusters,” Charidy Butcher, co-owner of the Atwood Armory, told WAND-TV. “My phone has been ringing nonstop since 4:30 this morning. It’s just been crazy.”
Butcher said she’s gotten calls from people as far away as Washington state wanting to enter the June 29 drawing. A ticket costs $20.
Judging by Atwood Armory’s last gun raffle, which raised $7,000 for a cancer charity, the Little League will get their new equipment. The raffle’s success is no surprise; AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the US. Atwood Armory noted that AR-15s have exploded in popularity since the Sandy Hook shooting, when gun sales spiked as people stockpiled weapons. AR-15 sales would be banned under the assault weapons ban being considered by Congress.
While Atwood Armory is taking advantage of the demand for a good cause, other gun shops have held similar giveaways of AR-15s and ammunition to protest gun violence prevention measures introduced in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.
Moreover, gun manufacturers have worked hard to associate assault weapons with children. The industry has released ads and articles encouraging children to ask for an AR-15 for Christmas. In internal studies, manufacturers were advised to “start them young” and “target programs toward youth 12 years old and younger.”