Debate over a gun raffle to benefit elementary school students turned a small-town fundraiser into a national gun-rights referendum.
Hunters and gun-ownership advocates from 26 states bought tickets for the chance to win a deer-hunting rifle, raising $10,030 for Lucama Elementary School last weekend. The nonprofit Delta Waterfowl Foundation expected to raise around $500 with the raffle.
“It really blew us away, the response that we got,” said Ryan Beamon, chairman of the Wilson County-based Sanoca Southern Gentlemen chapter of Delta Waterfowl. “In the end, the school is getting what they need for these kids.”
Some parents and community members complained about the gun raffle, contending that school shootings made the rifle an inappropriate prize. Stories about the controversy appeared in The Wilson Times, on local television newscasts, on the Huffington Post online newspaper and on various blogs and websites.
Beamon said supporters from the Pacific Northwest to Massachusetts contacted the group to buy tickets after seeing news coverage of the gun raffle. Delta Waterfowl hopes the unprecedented success may help change naysayers’ minds.
“That’s what we hope as a chapter: That they realize we’re doing these things for the right reason,” Beamon said. “We had nothing but positive ideas. It was nothing but, ‘Let’s just raise money for the kids.’”
Someone remind me: how much money did gun control activists raise for the kids?