HILLIARD, Fla. – Some News4JAX viewers expressed concerns over a raffle for an AR-15 pistol created to raise funds for school football teams. We asked the booster club — the Pride Of Hilliard Football Club — about the fundraiser, and a spokesperson said they’ve done it before without any issues.
The spokesperson for the Pride of Hilliard Football Club explained that the nonprofit is separate from Hilliard Middle-Senior High School and its only affiliation is to provide meals, equipment and other needs for the football teams that the district does not provide. The three teams include close to 100 players.
“We all know that raising money in today’s times is tough,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement. “At this point, our teams are lacking in important safety equipment such as helmets and pads. In the past, a gun raffle has been our biggest fundraiser, as it has for many non-profit organizations in southern states. In light of recent events, we took into careful consideration how to promote our fundraiser.”
The football club explained that the winner of the gun must be 21 years of age or older and submit to a background check. The ticket is not transferrable, and only the football club and parents will be selling tickets — no minors.
“We only have the best interest of our teams at heart,” the statement reads. “Hopefully any concerns about our raffle will be cleared up with an understanding that our community is full of responsible gun owners who submit to background checks regularly when purchasing firearms. We are working with a licensed dealer and federal guidelines are being followed throughout the entire process.”
The booster club said it’s looking forward to a successful football season.