Atwood Armory, a gun store in Atwood, IL (one of two gun stores in a town of 1200 people, by the way) holds a gun give-away each quarter to give back to the community in the form of a raffle to benefit a charitable organization or cause.
The second quarter drawing was announced in late February for an AR-15 (a Rock River Arms specimen), back when an AR-15 was impossible to find and desirable new ones were commanding a premium of about $2500 in these parts. The recipient organization? The local Atwood-Hammond Little League organization, the local group that promotes America’s favorite pastime with everything from T-ball for tiny little boys to girls softball.
The organization decided to try a gun drawing this year after last year’s fundraiser raised about $20.
When news spread of the Little League organization raffling an AR-15 rifle hit the mainstream media (and it was everywhere short of the Drudge Report), the reaction nationwide was mixed. Requests for tickets poured in from throughout America, as did angry phone calls from big-city politicians, denigrating the gun shop and the Little League board of directors for giving away one of America’s favorite rifles. “They called us immoral, unethical and even suggested we were violating criminal laws in doing this,” shop owner Bryan Butcher told Guns Save Life Saturday after the drawing.
“They even accused us of having the kids take the gun from house to house to sell tickets,” he chuckled. “It got so bad I decided to tell them we were going to raffle away some hand grenades next year and that’s when my wife usually took the phone away from me.”
In the end, money talks and whining critics (along with bovine excrement) walks.
This year’s event netted $31,500.
Charles Waggy from Franklin, West Virginia.
He bought his ticket early on in the national kerfuffle over giving away one of America’s favorite rifles to support America’s favorite pastime for kids.
As both our Atwood-Hammond Youth Baseball League Fundraiser and season draw to a close, I would like to take a moment to thank a few people. First off, I would like to say “THANK YOU” to this awesome group of about 150 kids who participated in this league this year. They all are each unique and yet they all come together as a team and create something very special. I would also like to thank the coaches, who unselfishly donate their time to these kids, not only to coach them on playing the game but on good sportsmanship as well. To the parents, I would like to say “thank you” for making sure that your kids go to where they needed to be, whether it was practice or games. I would also like to thank a young man named Christopher Crabtree who unselfishly donated quite a bit of time to the maintenance of the diamonds, making sure they were ready to go almost every night before the games. A gentleman by the name of Brad Shipman and his wife, Christy Shipman chose to help out quite a bit out of the park as well as did Amy Nichols and Nikki Romine. A big thanks to Brad, Christy, Amy, and Nikki. To the fans that came out to support these kids, I would like to thank you for conducting yourself in a manner to be proud of. To the A-H Youth Baseball League Board, thank you for taking the time to see that these kids have something positive to look forward to in our community. I see our program reaching great things in the near future. And last, but certainly not least, I want to thank each and every single one of you who supported our fundraising efforts, whether directly or indirectly. Without all of the support from clear across the country, we never could have made this $31,500 Fundraiser possible. YOU ALL ROCK!!