NC youth cheerleading league has EPIC response to critics unhappy with rifle offered as raffle prize

Criticism poured in for a North Carolina nonprofit offering a provocative raffle prize in its fundraiser for pre-teen athletes and cheerleaders: an FN 15 Patrol Carbine.

The raffle, in East Flat Rock, N.C., was held by East Henderson Youth Football and Cheerleading League (EHYFCL). Local ABC affiliate WLOS reported unrest among some of the locals over the offering of a weapon in a fundraiser for kids, in a time when school shootings are so prominently in the news.

“We are currently raising funds to purchase new equipment and to have the ability to sponsor children in our community who cannot afford the registration fees,” the league told the affiliate.

Raffle organizers, who must have known it was a risky choice in a purple state, defended their decision by first pointing out that the FN 15 is not an assault rifle.

“We aren’t offering an assault rifle. We are offering an FN 15 Patrol Carbine,” an EHYFCL spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “This is an ArmaLite 15-style rifle, not fully automatic, which by definition excludes it from being classified as an assault rifle. We are following all ATF guidelines. The item is being held at an FFL, the recipient must complete an ATF form 4473 and pass an NICS background check before taking possession of it.”


Some parents and other community members were irked by what they considered an inappropriate prize offer, especially considering that EHYFCL football players and cheerleaders are between the ages of 4 and 13.

One anonymous parent told WLOS, “I was honestly shocked when I received the message that the children were going to be selling an assault rifle because of what’s going on at schools around the country.” Another said, “I thought it was in very bad taste for them to choose a weapon that is being used against children.”

Raffle organizers pointed out that their organization is not affiliated with the county or the school district. Besides, “the AR raffle has taken place three years consecutive and brings in the most support we have ever had.”

Further, they decried the difficulty inherent in raising funds sufficient for the significant costs of running the league.

“The use of the field, stadium, and facilities are not free, the lost uniforms, mouthpieces, chin straps, ear pads, bows, and socks are not free,” the group contended. “Equipment is not free, the insurance is not free, and all the other fees the league must pay are not imaginary.”

“The referees aren’t volunteers, the [law enforcement officers] and first responders for the children’s safety aren’t volunteers,” they further reminded critics.

The bottom line was clear enough. “If we’re not raising enough money, we’re forced to raise fees,” they said.


They assured the naysayers that they are all ears if anyone has a better idea.

“If you have a sure way to raise enough money quickly to get us through the rest of the season and still have enough to start up next season, we need you to use that energy in a positive way,” they quipped, with more than a hint of impatience, adding that the raffle winner must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check.

The controversy comes on the heels of a June story from Henderson County, North Carolina, where an AR-15 was scheduled for a raffle in support of wresters at Chase High School in neighboring Rutherford County. That event was suspended, due to heightened reporting of gun violence that stoked fears nationwide.


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