A youth cheerleading squad has been asked to raffle off a semi-automatic weapon, making some parents uncomfortable, according to local outlets. Organizer New Richmond Junior Lions, Incorporated in Clermont County, Ohio, has asked participants of their youth cheerleading program to sell raffle tickets for an AM15 optic ready M4, while also asking football players to raffle off a Glock 9mm. Two mothers have come forward to media outlets to publicly express their discontent with the request. The issue is especially tense, being as Clermont County is only around an hour from Dayton, Ohio, the site of a recent mass shooting that ended with nine victims dead.
"This is absurd, you're having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?" Nevaeh Chilton, whose daughter is 7 years old, told WXIX. "I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun — but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM15 and shot up a school with it, and I'm the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad? ... I can't see them selling some type of semi-automatic rifle when we have all these mass shootings going on, going door to door."
Chilton, who is a gun owner herself, added to WCPO, "The point is that our little girls should have nothing to do with it, period. They should be cheerleaders."
Sari Brittain, a mother to a 4-year-old in the program, spoke about the matter with WKRC, saying, "If my daughter wants the pom-poms, then she has to learn maturity and taking raffles and talking to people with me at her side, but I’m not going to do let her do that with a gun, or any weapon, of that matter. ... We live in a world where you don’t know if Bob down the street is OK with guns. So why would I take my 4-year-old daughter down the street to meet Bob who's not OK with it? And now he knows my face and my daughter's face."
Brittain did say that she was offered the chance to raffle off a gift basket instead of participating in the gun raffle, (known as the NRJLF Cheer Gun Raffle Fundraiser), and she took the option.
After a slew of media attention, Brittain told CBS News, "The league resolved all of my issues, and we peacefully agreed to be content on where we all stand."
When asked about the fundraiser by WKRC, the club's president, Robert Wooten, bragged that the media attention caused demand for raffle tickets to "increase substantially," and also noted that just two parents have lodged complaints with him. However, he did note that he and the organization's board members with reconsider the promotion when planning their 2020 efforts.
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