Growing Attention On Stark County AR-15 Raffle To Support Youth Sports

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by M.L. Schultze, WKSU

A youth baseball league in Stark County is raffling off four guns – including an AR-15. It's the fifth year for the fundraiser, though it's drawing more attention than in the past. 

East Canton Youth Baseball League President David Spencer says the gun raffles have kept registration and equipment costs at a minimum and helped grow the program from 60 to 140 kids.

But he acknowledges some people have a problem with assault-style weapons underwriting youth sports, which is why the league started a kid's "hit-a-thon" alternative last year.

"A grandparent may be interested in doing the hit-a-thon but maybe an uncle may be interested in the gun raffle," Spencer says. "That's why we target different demographics for these fundraisers to make sure that not anyone group is carrying the burden." 

Spencer says guns are part of his rural Stark County community's culture and no one has voiced objections to him directly.

But he has seen Facebook posts protesting the drawings.

Each year, the group sells 1,500 to 2,000 raffle tickets. The gun transfers are done through a dealer and include background checks.

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