SOUTH LYON, Mich. (WWJ) – A benefit dinner for a Michigan high school football team has been canceled — after outrage over one of the raffle prizes being offered.
The prize offered from the South Lyon High School booster club? An AR-15 rifle.
The football booster club saying they weren’t trying to be insensitive – they were taking advantage of the vast amount of sportsmen in the area.
AR-15 rifles, which are often sold with a 30-round magazine, have been billed by the NRA as “the most popular rifle in America.”
Just last week a former student, Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire with an AR-15 rifle at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killing 17 people. The heavily armed teenager gunned down students and adults at the Florida high school on Wednesday. The AR-15 is also the same assault weapon used to kill 59 people in Las Vegas during an outdoor music festival in October — 26 people at a Texas church in November — 49 people at the Pulse Nightclub in Florida in 2016 and used to murder 26 people, mostly young children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
Thousands across the nation have been gathering in their communities to protest the availability of weapons such as at AR-15 which have been the weapon of choice in recent mass killings. Protesters calling on politicians who receive millions of dollars in campaign funding from the NRA to reject their influence.
On February 15, South Lyon’s Superintendent Melissa Baker sent a letter to the SLCS Families: “I write to you all today with a heavy heart, as we all send out thoughts and prayers to the victims, families and entire community of Parkland, Florida.” The letter went on to urge parents to learn about the “warning signs connected with school shooters in the United States. They include violent fantasies, anger problems, fascination with weapons …”
The South Lyon Football Booster Organization saying the “sensitivity of the issue coupled with the untimely tragedy has led to the decision.
At no point did the Booster club intend to offend those sensitive to the topic of firearms. The event was meant to generate funding for the football program by taking advantage of the vast amount of sportsmen in the area. The event was not associated in any way with the School District of South Lyon or the High School.”
The boosters went on to say that no minors were to be in attendance and that firearms would not be distributed at the event. Any raffle winner would have to go through “appropriate paperwork and background checks would be performed in accordance to state and federal laws.”
In Michigan, it’s “unlawful to hunt with a semi-automatic shotgun or semi-automatic rifle that can hold more than six shells in the barrel and magazine combined, unless it is a .22 caliber or smaller rimfire. Fully automatic firearms are unlawful. All shotguns used for migratory game birds (including woodcock) must be plugged so the total capacity of the shotgun does not exceed three shells,” according to the DNR.