A sporting goods store’s attempt to raise money for seniors at a northern Maine high school is getting some blowback on social media.
That’s because the raffle prize is a 9mm handgun, WGME-TV reported.
The fundraiser is aimed at helping seniors at Hodgdon Middle-High School throw a safe, alcohol-free party for their graduation, the news station said.
After Michelle Crane, the owner of MACS Trading Post in Houlton, Maine, posted details about the raffle on Facebook early last month, some people have questioned whether it was appropriate. But the comments were a little more heated on WGME’s Facebook page after the Portland television station shared the post Wednesday and asked viewers what they thought.
“Terrible and shouldn’t be allowed,” said one Facebook user. “A bit tone deaf. . . not the right time,” said another commenter. One user likened it to raffling off a bottle of liquor after a student is killed by a drunk driver, alluding to recent school shootings.
Tickets to win the Smith and Wesson SD9 9mm are $5, Crane’s Facebook post said. The drawing is next Saturday.
Despite the online backlash, MACS is standing by the raffle, WCSH reported.
“We will not apologize for supporting our youth and community nor our constitutional right to bear arms,” the store said in a statement to the news station.
The store also explained that it often holds these types of raffles as fundraisers for community events, WCSH reported.
The raffle isn’t directly involved with the school, according to the Houlton Pioneer Times, as posted by Bangor Daily News.
Many commenters on Crane’s Facebook post and WGME’s expressed their support for the decision, even asking if they can buy multiple tickets.
Crane explained on her Facebook post that the raffle is being conducted through the store, not the school, so all laws apply, meaning the winner would have to pass all the required background checks to get the gun.
The raffle will take place after a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida killed 17 people last month.