Raffling items off is a time-honored tradition. It’s almost a rite of passage in childhood to have to sell raffle tickets.

And by that I mean to have the parents sell the tickets.

Raffles often include all kinds of items, anything from something pretty mundane to resort vacations and new cars. Firearms, in particular, have been popular items to raffle. Folks like guns and will happily kick a few bucks in for a good cause and a chance to pick up a new weapon. It’s nothing new.

Further, I haven’t been able to find anyone who has used a firearm they got in a raffle illegally. I’m sure it must have happened, but I haven’t been able to find an example.

That doesn’t matter for some parents. They’re upset their daughters’ cheerleading league is selling raffle tickets for a chance to win an AR-15.

An elementary school cheerleading league is facing criticism after asking students to sell raffle tickets for a semi-automatic rifle.

Heather Chilton said her 7-year-old daughter was asked to sell tickets for an AM-15 optic ready rifle to raise money for the New Richmond Junior Lions Football and Cheer program in Ohio, according to CNN affiliate WXIX.
“This is absurd, you’re having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?” Chilton told WXIX. “I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun, but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM-15 and shot up a school with it, and I’m the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad?”

This is the fourth year of the raffle. League president Robert Wooten commented that they’re easy to sell. That’s not surprising. AR-15s are popular firearms. Even though the AM-15 isn’t exactly a high-end AR, it’s really cost-effective to buy if you’re only paying a few dollars for a ticket. If you don’t win, you’re not really out anything since you’re helping kids, but if you do, you get a new AR-15. Folks aren’t really going to see the downside.

Now, everyone wants to get all panicky about it.

Look, the concerns about someone taking the gun and shooting up a school may be understandable, but they’re based on the fearmongering being peddled to the American people that there’s some epidemic of mass shootings. There’s not. That said, I do get where the concern is coming from.

It’s just wrong.

You see, the odds are that most of the people buying the tickets already have some interest in firearms. That means they probably already own an AR-15 or two. Should their child decide to carry out a mass shooting, there are already guns in the house.

Second, bear in mind that raffles for guns don’t skip the normal way someone gets a gun. They still have to follow all the same laws as if they were handing the gun store money in exchange for a firearm. In other words, there’s no risk of selling a raffle ticket and it leading to mass slaughter. After all, if the kid in question’s dad wants an AR-15, he can just buy one. If he can’t, then he wouldn’t be able to take possession of the weapon in question anyway.

But this isn’t really about safety. It’s about creating more of a stigma around firearms. What was once considered part of the quintessential American experience is now being shifted toward something taboo. In this instance, it’s some imaginary fear that raffle tickets are a problem, but don’t expect it to stop there.

They want to stigmatize guns until no one will admit having one, then they can gaslight gun owners into at least staying quiet about gun rights. This is just another part of that.

I’m not saying there’s a conspiracy at work, either. It’s just something that pops up as the culture has shifted, and now we’re going to have to work damn hard to take it back so this kind of nonsense doesn’t happen.