February 18, 2018 9:07 pm
Updated: February 20, 2018 9:01 pm

Missouri youth baseball team moves ahead with raffle of AR-15 rifle despite criticism

WATCH ABOVE: Despite mounting criticism, a Missouri youth baseball team is moving ahead with a raffle of an AR-15 rifle the team says was planned before the Florida school shooting in which it's said an AR-15 was the weapon used.

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NEOSHO, Mo. – A Missouri youth baseball team is moving ahead with a raffle of an AR-15 rifle despite criticism it received after a similar gun was used to kill 17 in a Florida high school.

Coach Levi Patterson told the Kansas City Star the fundraiser for the third-grade team in Neosho, Missouri, had been planned before last week’s shooting in Parkland, Florida.

READ MORE: Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz starred in NRA-funded air rifle team

He says his heart breaks for the shooting victims, but said gun raffles have been going on for years. He also said none of the children on the team would be forced to sell raffle tickets. Players selling tickets range in age from 7 to 9.

The weapon was offered by a player’s father who is a co-founder of a local gun store. The winner must pass a background check.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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