Belton police association pulls AR-15 rifle raffle at DARE fundraiser in light of recent mass shootings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) – A golf tournament to benefit the DARE program at Belton schools has been scheduled for June 9.

The Belton Police Athletic Association, which has sponsored the tournament for 30 years, has raised funds for the program by raffling off firearms.

Lt. Dan Davis said that months ago, the association decided to raffle an AR-15 rifle this year. That decision has since been pulled back.

A gunman stormed into an elementary school on March 24 in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers in the United States. He was using AR-15-style rifle, carrying multiple magazines.

Fewer than two weeks before that, a gunman opened fire on a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people. Prosecutors said he was wearing body armor and armed with an AR-15-style rifle.

The Belton police officer said that the winner of the raffle has always had to receive the firearm through a federally licensed gun dealer passing all applicable background checks. He also emphasized that no one could receive a firearm who could not purchase that same gun “through the same means and with the same restrictions as every citizen.”

Organizers with the Police Athletic Association will refund raffle ticket holders.

Tim York, a gun enthusiast who said he supports most Second Amendment issues, said it would be inappropriate to raffle off an AR-15 anytime for a youth-centered program like DARE.

“Pulling it was the right move,” York said. “There are so many things we could raffle off here.”

Raven Wright, who was playing in a park with her daughter, said she felt like the drawing sent a poor message.

“I think it’s unnecessary because it’s a gun and we have all these tragedies because of guns,” Wright said.