College Republicans at Northwest Missouri State University are auctioning off an 80% lower receiver in an attempt raise money and goad Robert Francis “Beto”O’Rourke for his proposed gun ban and gun grab, but first they’re going to have to explain to some folks what an 80% lower is in the first place. I had to laugh when I saw this correction in the local student newspaper.

A previous version of this article’s headline incorrectly stated that Northwest’s College Republicans were raffling off 80% of AR-15. The organization is raffling off 80% of an AR-15 Lower Receiver, which is different and makes up less than 80% of the firearm. The Missourian regrets the headline error.

The staff at the Missourian may not know what an 80% lower receiver is exactly, but they know they don’t like them one bit.

Northwest’s College Republicans group cares more about heightened publicity and increased fundraising than it does the safety of the campus and community.

It is reasonably illegal to give away a full AR-15, which is why the organization isn’t doing so. It is unreasonably reckless to give away 80% of an AR-15 part , the same weapon used in recent, high-profile mass shootings like the one in a Parkland, Florida, high school that killed 17 people in February 2018.

For just $10, the College Republicans’ poorly-designed, Student Affairs-approved flyer touts, anyone on campus or in the community can enter the raffle for a chance to win a part of the semi-automatic weapon, one more suitable for a battlefield than a deer stand, much less a college campus. The cost is discounted to $5 if you attend an upcoming meeting.

No, it’s not “reasonably illegal” to raffle off an AR-15 in Missouri. A quick Google search reveals several rifle raffles, from local fire departments to police organizations, that have taken place in the state. It’s honestly embarrassing that any journalist, even one writing for their college paper, would be so woefully informed of their subject matter. Then again, it sounds like fear and ignorance abound on campus when it comes to firearms.

The raffle quickly became controversial on social media. Mass media professor Jody Strauch led a Facebook post expressing opposition to the raffle.

“It bothers me to be promoting guns as fundraising on a college campus,” Strauch said. “I don’t think it reflects well on Northwest. They are an approved organization on campus. I find it distasteful.”

The raffle stirred concerns from the Northwest community, prompting a response from Northwest President John Jasinski after a concerned alumnus reached out.

Jasinksi’s response was posted to Facebook by the concerned alumnus. Jasinski reiterated that College Republicans are within their rights and followed campus policy.

“Throughout the process, the College Republicans have communicated with the University Police Department and have stated that the lower receiver will not be on campus — the raffle winner will claim it off campus,” Jasinski said to the 2001 alumnus in an email.

Even that’s not enough for the editorial board of the student paper, which closes its pearl-clutching editorial with this gem.

The College Republicans are acting within their rights in possessing and giving away the gun in question. It’s entirely legal, which gives way to a more pressing question: should it be? The potential dangers far outweigh any inkling of good that may come with it.

This organization’s gimmick, at best, seems like a savvy publicity ploy and an effective fundraiser. But there’s no chance it’s worth the potential cost.

They’re not giving away a gun. They’re not even raffling off a gun part. They’re raffling off a hunk of metal that, once completed, will become half of the receiver of a firearm. As we’ve noted here previously, even under the ATF’s definition, a fully finished lower receiver isn’t actually a firearm. Journalists are entitled to bad opinions, but they’re not entitled to just make up “facts” in order to bolster their case.