A third grade baseball team is the latest to raffle off an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, just days after the very same weapon killed 17 people in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.
The 9-and-under baseball team from Neosho, Missouri joins Kansas congressional candidate Tyler Tannahill in auctioning off the popular rifle that has been the weapon of choice of a number of mass murders in recent history. Levi Patterson, coach of the baseball squad full of youngsters, told the St. Louis Post- Dispatch the highly lethal weapon was donated by one of the elementary school-age players’ parents, who is also happens to be local weapons purveyor.
Patterson said he considered finding another rifle to raffle off following the latest school shooting in at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida (the 17th shooting at a school in 2018) to help raise money for the baseball team full of 7 to 9-year-old children. But after receiving criticism about the raffle on Facebook, he decided to stick with the weapon so he could “turn it into a positive thing,” according to the Post-Dispatch.
Tannahill, who announced his “AR-15 Giveaway!” on social media, was raffling-off the rifle in support of the Second Amendment — a contest that was planned a month ago, the Kansas City Star reported. Following the Parkland shooting and backlash, Tannahill said he no plans to cancel the contest.
The congressional candidate and youth baseball coach have both said winners of their contests will have to pass background checks in order to receive their prize — the very same federal background check that allowed the Parkland shooter to legally obtain that very same weapon.