Montgomery County The Montgomery County Softball League fundraising effort has some parents worried.
“I was shocked. It’s really annoying to me,” Jessica England, a mother of three, explained.
The England Girls have been in the South Montgomery Girls Softball League for nearly a decade, and she says they love every minute of it.
“They’ve done a 50/50 lottery, a halving lottery or free registration for premium parking spots next season…that sort of thing,” England noted.
But the one thing you’ve never seen before is a lottery like this.
“I was like, OK, it’s not my favorite thing in the world but it’s Texas, it’s Montgomery County,” England said.
She received an email about a fundraiser in the fall and they were pulling a pistol. One entry is $25 and five entries are $100.
England pointed out that “it would be one thing if they were hello for a hunting rifle, it’s about to be hunting season.” “This is a Smith and Wesson AR 15 semi-automatic rifle, one of those big, intimidating looking rifles.”
According to the SMGSL website page where the draw was posted, it says, “Each ticket will give you a chance to win a Smith & Wesson 15T II 5.65 or Glock 17 Gen 5 (9mm) in Spring Gun and Ammo. All funds raised will benefit the Southern Montgomery Girls’ Softball Association. The raffle will take place in person during the end-of-season tournament.”
England says its concerns lie more in the timing and “type” of the weapon being recalled.
“I don’t think it is appropriate for a children’s activity to draw this kind of weapon. They will not do the lottery on the basket of liquor and tobacco, and they will not do the lottery on the gift card to the dispensary, these are not suitable for children’s activities and I do not think this is either.”
England has lodged a formal complaint with some other parents who have expressed their concerns.
“Not four months ago, 19 children and two teachers were shot dead with a semi-automatic assault rifle just like the one being pulled here,” England said.
The Southern Montgomery Girls’ Softball Association stands behind their selection in the raffle and has sent KPRC the following statement:
“SMGSL is currently aware of three gun recall complaints, among our membership of 525 families. Rifle drawing is a legal and common practice. All winners will need to pass a security check before receiving any prize. If winners do not pass the background check, they will be considered ineligible. SMGSL strives to respond to our membership needs and will be polling all league members for their feedback on the direction of future draws. If a significant portion of our membership wants a change in this area, we will make the adjustment in subsequent draw events.”
KPRC spoke with a gun store and management says it sees gun recalls all the time. They told KPRC that they even bought a Boy Scout group a pulling pistol as a fundraiser last year. After the organization or person buys the gun, they will keep the guns until the winner comes to pick it up. The winner must also pass a background check in order to be released.
England knows there will always be two teams.
“It’s a controversial issue and I know my personal beliefs are not like everyone else in my neighborhood or in the softball league,” she explained. “People in Texas have very strong opinions and very different opinions about guns in general.”
Other parents expressed their dissatisfaction with the withdrawal procedure. One parent said that since the kids aren’t directly involved, the raffle is a great way to raise money for the league.
But on a topic that England feels very strongly about, she says she will continue to stand up for what she believes in on behalf of her children.
“Silence is no longer a thing,” she said.
We also asked SMGSL if this was the first time they had ever run a handgun. We are waiting for a response. The winner will be drawn at the end of the softball season in November.
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