KEY POINTS

  • The fundraiser was initiated a few days after the mass shootings at Atlanta and Colorado
  • The school and district aren't officially associated with the fundraiser
  • Some consider it as an example of a way to exercise Second Amendment rights

Close on the heels of the recent mass shootings in Atlanta and Colorado, the debate about US gun control laws is thrust back into the spotlight once again after a fundraiser raffle for Florida’s Astronaut High School seniors featured an assault rifle as a prize.

In the Project Graduation raffle, one of the advertised prizes was a military-style firearm that immediately caused some parents to question how a school-related fundraiser would deem such an item as an appropriate prize.  The numerous school shootings that have resulted in many deaths in the past were the main point of contention for the worried parents.  

However, there were parents who showed overwhelming support for the raffle with its controversial prize. According to them, it was an example of a way to exercise Second Amendment rights.

However, it seems that the fundraiser is not officially associated with Astronaut High School. Brevard Public School officials told off the fundraiser’s organizers for associating the school in their advertising since the school is prohibited from organizing any raffles, BPS representative Russell Bruhn said, according to Click Orlando.

Bruhn told the fundraiser’s organizers that they couldn’t have Astronaut High School associated with any raffles with no exceptions. The organizers were also directed to remove any advertisements that make people assume that the school is involved with the raffle.

Bruhn further said that Project Graduation, an independent nonprofit organization, is not an official partner with the district or the school. The organization can hold fundraisers for whatever reason they want, but they cannot use Brevard Public School or Astronaut High School in their promotional material.

The school doesn't want the school's name associated with raffles, even if there weren’t any firearms as prizes.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allows the raffling of a firearm as long as the winner goes through a proper background check and completes the appropriate paperwork needed.

The ATF website states that this type of raffle is legal as long as the legal processes for the transfer or sale of the weapon are followed.

Project Graduation organizers have not responded to the media’s request for comments as of Monday.

The mass shootings at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, and at three spas in Atlanta, Georgia, saw 18 people dead. The incidents have prompted senators to immediately splinter along partisan lines over gun control measures last week as Democrats urged for reforms.

assault rifle The NRA is opposed to the inclusion of assault rifles under the list of weapons that should be regulated in international trade under the arms trade treaty. Photo: REUTERS