Oklahoma is one of the reddest states in the nation, both literally and figuratively, and gun control activists have never found much fertile soil in the red clay dirt or the crimson-colored political environment dominated by Republicans. So, when I saw a story about a local gun raffle benefitting a junior cheer team in the small town of Lexington, Oklahoma getting bashed by anti-gun critics, I was a little shocked. I would expect to see something like this in Massachusetts or New Jersey, but Oklahoma?
Well, as it turns out that while the gun raffle is taking place in a small Oklahoma town, but the complaints aren’t coming from locals. Instead, out-of-state activists are targeting the raffle through social media.
The team says tickets are $5 and the winner will need to pick up the gun and register it at Academy Sports. This is the first gun raffle for Lexington Little League Cheer.
“We have seen other groups do them in the past and they have been very successful,” a spokesperson said.
A second post made by the team says some are upset and accusing them of ‘inciting gun violence and will be responsible for the next school shooting.’
“We teach gun safety to our families. Guns themselves don’t kill people, bad people kill people,” a spokesperson said.
If the anti-gun scolds were hoping to bully the organizers into dropping the raffle, they’re going to be disappointed. This is Oklahoma, after all. Instead, the raffle is simply moving to a private group online, while locals can still buy raffle tickets in person.
But, given the popularity of gun raffles, the scolds will soon have another target to go after.. In fact, it was just last week that the Muncie, Indiana police department ended up cancelled a rifle raffle that was aimed at raising money for the department’s K-9 unit, though in that case many of the complaints involved local residents and not out-of-state activists.
Muncie resident Steve Brown couldn’t believe it.
“At first I thought it was an ill-thought joke because it seemed so absurd,” Brown said.
But the raffle was real, and Monday morning alarmed residents started swapping emails and messages.
“People who normally don’t get involved got involved.” Amiee Robertson West said.
She heard more than a few of them.
“I knew immediately something was wrong,” she said.
West quickly contacted Muncie’s police department and worked her way up the chain of command. She said she was encouraged by what happened next.
“Everyone, regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum, knew this was not a wise thing to do,” West explained.
What exactly made this raffle so unwise? West and the other scolds were incensed that the police department was daring to raffle off a shotgun and a rifle weeks after the shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis 60 miles away.
Never mind that the winner of the gun raffle would have had to go through a background check before they could take possession of their prize. Forget the fact that the raffle was to benefit the Muncie PD’s K-9 unit, which in turn would lead to increased public safety in the city. None of that matters to the scolds. Because there was a gun involved, the raffle had to be scrapped. And ultimately, it was.
Granted, it’s easier from a public relations perspective for a private group like the parents of the Little League cheerleaders in Oklahoma to continue with their gun raffle than it is for a government entity like a police department, but it’s still disappointing to see the Muncie PD back down over the unwarranted freak out over its raffle. It would have been nice to have seen them show the same fortitude that’s been on display in Oklahoma and simply explain to the public how the raffle would have worked, where the money would have gone, and why the department chose to raffle off a couple of firearms instead of, say, an autographed picture of Shannon Watts.