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Missouri youth baseball team selling tickets for AR-15 rifle raffle

Missouri youth baseball team selling tickets for AR-15 rifle raffle
Posted at 2:57 PM, Feb 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-20 14:57:54-05

NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri youth baseball team is moving ahead with a raffle of an AR-15 rifle despite criticism it received after a similar gun was used to kill 17 in a Florida high school.

Related: 17 dead in south Florida school shooting, 19-year-old suspect held without bond

Coach Levi Patterson told the Kansas City Star the fundraiser for the third-grade team in Neosho, Missouri, had been planned before last week’s shooting in Parkland, Florida.

He says his heart breaks for the shooting victims, but said gun raffles have been going on for years. He also said none of the children on the team would be forced to sell raffle tickets. Players selling tickets range in age from 7 to 9.

The weapon was offered by a player’s father who is a co-founder of a local gun store. The winner must pass a background check.