on September 20, 2022
The East Henderson Youth Football and Cheerleading League (EHYFCL) in East Flat Rock, North Carolina, is receiving criticism from parents, the local community, and users on social media for raffling off a modern sporting rifle to raise money.
This isn’t the first year this non-profit organization has used an AR-pattern rifle as a fundraising tool. A league spokesperson from EHYFCL told the NY Post, “The AR raffle has taken place three years consecutive and brings in the most support we have ever had.”
The rifle for this particular raffle is an FN 15 Patrol Carbine. The EHYFCL shared that the rifle is an ArmaLite 15-style rifle (AR-15) that is not a fully automatic weapon, is being held by a Federal Firearms License (FFL), and that the future winner must fill out the ATF’s Form 4473 and be able to pass a NICS background check.
EHYFC’s website states, “The EHYFC, Inc is a non-profit organization aimed at giving the youth (ages 5-12) of our area a chance to participate in a Football and Cheerleading program.”
Parents and local community members complained that the rifle raffle was inappropriate due to the age of the kids in the program and the fact that a firearm was being used to raise funds.
An anonymous parent told WLOS, “I was honestly shocked when I received the message that the children were going to be selling an assault rifle because of what’s going on at schools around the country.”
Another local parent who wished to remain anonymous said, “I thought it was in very bad taste for them to choose a weapon that is being used against children.”
The East Henderson Youth Football and Cheerleading League posted a Facebook post on September 1, 2022, in response to the feedback from parents and the local community at large. The comments have been hidden and are no longer visible.
The controversy of using firearms to raise money for youth sports programs in North Carolina seems to be a trend. Earlier this summer, an AR-15 raffle for high school wrestlers at Chase High School in neighboring Rutherford County was suspended amid concerns about rising gun violence nationwide. If funds are not raised through raffles or donations, the fees are passed along to parents for gear, equipment, and other items necessary for the youth programs.