Residents split after sheriff's office raffles AR-15 rifle to support DARE program

Residents split after sheriff's office raffles AR-15 rifle to support DARE program

CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — Two guns are being raffled off to support Caldwell County's DARE program and the promotion by the sheriff's office is getting a lot of attention.

The Caldwell County School District said upset parents have been calling and emailing since Wednesday night, saying they do not support a gun raffle for a program aimed at keeping children away from drugs.

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The sheriff's office is selling $5 raffle tickets for a chance to win an AR-15 or a Henry Lever Action 22 similar to these rifles.

Officials said the winner must possess a concealed handgun permit or purchase permit, which according to the sheriff's office, goes beyond what is currently required under North Carolina law.

"That's twice as extensive as what it would standardly be," Caldwell County Cpt. Aaron Barlowe said.

In a statement, the Caldwell County School District said it is not part of the raffle, but because of DARE it is getting associated with it.

"With respect to the DARE raffle underway by some law enforcement agencies in our county, the raffle is not something that is being done by the Caldwell County Schools, but we have become associated with it due to dare," the district said.

Some parents told Channel 9's Dave Faherty they are concerned the raffle sends the wrong message.

"It gets in the wrong hands and who knows what people may do with something like that," resident Yancy Bowers said. "To me personally, I don't think it's a good message at all."

I don't think it should be done," mother Sherry Ellison said. "It shouldn't be done like that. I think it's a better idea to have donations to have people donate money."

Resident Donnie McGee, who went to pickup his gun permit Thursday, said he supports the raffle and the DARE program it will help fund.

"I'm sure a lot of people have misconceptions and everything, but I think everyone should have one," McGee said.

The sheriff's office said they have already sold a lot of tickets. In Caldwell County, there are more than 7,400 people with concealed carry permits.