ELK CITY, Okla. - An online firestorm over a youth baseball team’s fundraiser, the prize an AR 15 rifle.
During practice Catch cultivated his curve ball while Tayte worked on his fielding. They were getting ready for a big Saturday game
But the topic sparking the most conversation is the team’s fundraiser. No baked brownies or lemonade stands, the Elk City Outlaws are raffling off an AR 15 riffle.
Concerned parents called NewsChannel 4, others quickly showed outrage online.
One person wrote: “Why in the world would you have 6, 7, 8 & 9 year olds selling raffle tickets for an assault rifle?”
Others said it sends the wrong message and its “…teaching them its Ok to raffle off semi-automatic machine guns that were made to kill men…”
Some even questioned the parents’ sanity stating “…these parents need their heads examined…”
We caught up with head coach Denny Geno. “This is western Oklahoma. There’s a lot of people that carry guns out here and are proud of their guns.”
He said most of the people in the area support the idea. “If you raise your kid the right way and they understand the safety then I don’t think there is a problem with it .”
He also clearly explained the rules. “It says on the ticket all ATF rules must apply so if they do not qualify they do not win,” said Geno.
If they don’t pass the background check, they forfeit the prize.
“I can see where those parents have concerns especially if they weren’t brought up around here,” said Andy Shelton. He’s Tayte’s father
“For some people guns are just not their thing, but for people out here its a popular sport, hobby and activity that a lot of families enjoy. “
That was the sentiment shared around town
Christy Ham said, “I ended up getting my son a little bitty 22 when he was four years old. We enjoy guns and teach our kids safety.”
As for the team – they plan to dust the criticism off their gloves and continue mastering those curve balls and home runs.