Janesville (WKOW) -- The organizers of a charitable raffle with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle as one of the raffle's grand prizes defend the use of the notorious weapon in the event.
As you know, a teen was accused of using an AR-15 Feb. 14 to kill seventeen students and staff at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
Promotions on social media for the May 12 Janesville event and the AR-15 prize drew comments of concern, including questions over the vetting of any winner, and the appropriateness of using one of the symbols of the Florida tragedy so close in time to the mass shooting.
The raffle is sponsored by the Janesville Professional Police Association (JPPA). JPPA President Officer Justin Stubbendick said raffle proceeds will help two cancer patients, including a child, pay for medical treatments.
Stubbendick said the winners of the AR-15, and two other prizes that are firearms, will have to pass a background check in order to claim them. He said the weapons are from a Sun Prairie gun store. He also said raffle sales began before the Florida shooting, and any sensitivity over the use of this prize is trumped by the benefit the raffle will achieve.
"In the past, we've raffled off hand guns, and they've gotten a lot of revenue," said Stubbendick. "This was for a child with cancer. I respect everyone's opinion. If individuals disagree with it, they can choose not to participate."
Organizers says several hundred dollars have already been raised through raffle sales. Raffle winners will be announced at Janesville's Sam's Club.