Bessemer City youth baseball team raffling AR-15, shotgun

BESSEMER CITY, N.C. — A youth baseball team in Gaston County is raffling three guns, including an AR-15 and a shotgun, for $10 a ticket.

Organizers posted a flyer to social media saying proceeds will help support a youth all-star baseball team in Bessemer City.

The city said it has received calls from concerned parents.

Resident Jimmy Brooks said he understands the concerns but is in overall support of the fundraiser.

“I feel like if it’s going to help the kids to get where they’re going, it’s alright, as long as they do a background check,” he said.

Professor David Yamane with Wake Forest University studies gun culture. He explained fundraisers of this nature can be controversial, especially in light of mass shootings like those in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.

“Some of the most high profile mass shootings in America have used the AR-15, but if you’re really concerned about gun violence, most gun violence is committed with handguns so you ought to be as scandalized that someone is raffling off a handgun that you are an AR-15,” Yamane said.

Officials with Bessemer City said the fundraiser is led by parents and the city has no involvement.

Channel 9 contacted the team’s coach, who confirmed he’s involved in the gun raffle but wouldn’t comment further.

The bottom of the social media post says the winner must be able to purchase a firearm legally.

Some residents like Michael Stokes said if the raffle meets the letter of the law, he doesn’t see a problem.

“As long as they do their due diligence, I’m fine with it,” Stokes said. “The key is to not get the guns into the wrong hands.”

The social media post said the team will sell fewer than 1,000 tickets.

(WATCH BELOW: Meck County leads the state in guns found in schools over 11-year span)