MONTGOMERY COUNTY – A fundraising effort for a softball tournament in Montgomery County has raised concerns and concerns among some parents.
“I was shocked. It really upset me,” explained parent of three, Jessica England.
My daughter has been South Montgomery Girls Softball League for almost a decade combined, and she says they loved every minute of it.
“They did a 50/50 raffle, a half-price lottery or a free sign-up for premium parking spots next season… that sort of thing,” England notes.
But one thing she has never seen is a lottery like this.
“I like, okay, not my favorite thing in the world but it’s Texas, it’s Montgomery County,” England said.
She got an email about a fall fundraiser and they won a gun. One entry is $25 and five entries are $100.
“It’s one thing if they buy a shotgun, it’s hunting season,” he notes. “This is a semi-automatic Smith and Wesson AR 15 style rifle, one of those big guns that looks scary.”
According to the website SMGSL where they posted the lottery, it said, “Each ticket will give you a chance to win either a Smith & Wesson 15T II 5.65 or a Glock 17 Gen 5 (9mm) at Spring Gun and Ammo. All proceeds will benefit the Montgomery Girls Men’s Softball League. Lottery will be held live during the season-end tournament. “
England said her concerns lie more about when and the “type” of weapons being allocated.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for a children’s activity to split this weapon. They won’t raffle a basket of alcohol and cigarettes, they won’t raffle gift cards for a medical station, these are not suitable for children’s activities and I don’t think so either.”
England made a formal complaint along with several other parents voicing her concerns.
“Less than four months ago, 19 children and two teachers were shot down with a semi-automatic assault rifle like the one in the lottery,” he said.
The South Montgomery Girls Softball League stands behind their lottery pick and sent KPRC the following statement:
“SMGSL is currently aware of 3 claims related to our gun lottery, out of our 525 member families. Gun lotteries are a legal and common practice. All winners will need to pass a background check before claiming any prizes. If a winner fails to pass the background check, they are considered ineligible. SMGSL strives to meet the needs of our membership and will poll all union members for their feedback on the direction of future raffles. . If a significant portion of our membership wants to make changes in this area, we will make adjustments in subsequent lottery events. “
KPRC spoke to a gun shop and management said they saw gunfights anytime. They told KPRC they even had a group of Boy Scouts buy a gun for a fundraising raffle last year. After an organization or individual purchases a gun, they will keep the weapon until the winner comes to claim it. Winners must also pass a background check in order to be released.
Britain understands that there will always be two sides.
“It’s a matter of polarizing controversy and I know that my personal beliefs are not the same as those of others in my neighborhood or in my softball league,” she explained. “People in Texas have very strong opinions and very different opinions about guns in general.”
Other parents have expressed in front of the camera that they are fine with holding the lottery. One parent said that since their children are not directly involved, raffles are a great way to raise money for the tournament.
But on a subject that Britain is deeply interested in, she said she will continue to defend what she believes in on behalf of her children.
“Keeping quiet is not a thing anymore,” she said.
We also asked SMGSL if this was the first time they’ve had a gunfight. We are waiting for a response. Winners will be drawn at the end of the softball season in November.
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