The Belton Police Athletic Association will no longer be raffling an AR-15 in the wake of several high-profile mass shootings across the nation in recent weeks.
The Belton Police Department has confirmed that the Belton Police Athletic Association has cancelled one of its fundraising efforts D.A.R.E. programs in Belton schools.
For about three decades, the Belton Police Athletic Association has sponsored the D.A.R.E. golf tournament. Proceeds from the tournament go toward the purchase of D.A.R.E. shirts, graduation certificates, books and camp activities.
According to a press release, one of the association’s funding mechanisms has been to raffle firearms with all proceeds going toward the D.A.R.E. program. The winner of the raffle has always had to receive the firearm through a federally licensed gun dealer passing all applicable background checks.
Timing was less than ideal for this year’s raffle. In the last month, dozens of people have been killed in mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Two of those events are currently the worst mass shootings so far this year.
On May 24, more than 20 people were killed during an active shooter event at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Most of the victims were children ages 11 and under. Less than two weeks prior to the Uvalde shooting, 10 people were killed during a shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.
Those two events alone have reenergized discussions about more gun control efforts. However, the police association had plans to raffle an AR-15 well before gun control was back in the spotlight.
“Months ago, the Belton Police Athletic Association decided this year to raffle an AR-15 rifle,” the Belton Police Department said in a statement. “After recent tragic events, the Belton Police Athletic Association decided that it would be inappropriate to continue with the raffle as planned.”
Organizers with the Belton Police Athletic Association will be refunding raffle ticket holders and is looking into other fundraising opportunities to support the D.A.R.E. program for the police department in the years to come.
On June 3, the Belton Police Department announced that Belton-based Retail Therapy will donate two autographed Chiefs jerseys for the golf tournament rifle. Each jersey comes with a certificate of authenticity. The first jersey is a Hall of Fame jersey signed by Neil Smith, Will Shields, Deron Cherry and Derrick Johnson. The second is an autographed Dante Hall jersey. The combined value is approximately $1,000.
The Belton Police Athletic Association is an independent, non-profit organization established in 1987.
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