A youth hockey association in North Dakota has halted the sale of tickets for a raffle of 200 guns — including three AR-15 military-style assault rifles — due to “overwhelming” demand.
In a note on its website on Thursday, West Fargo Hockey Association said that people interested in the raffle could join a waiting list in the event that more tickets became available in the future.
“Due to the overwhelming response of this raffle, we are not taking ticket orders at this time until we are able to validate the remaining ticket count,” the group said.
West Fargo Hockey Association board member Mike Prochnow, who is organizing the raffle, told WDAY that he was shocked by the response.
“I knew it was going to blow up, but I didn’t know it was going to blow up to this magnitude,” Prochnow said, adding that it was “unfortunate timing” that caused the raffle to be held so soon after the tragic slaughter of 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut.
Included in the 200 guns being raffled off are three Rock River AR-15 Coyote rifles, which are similar to the Bushmaster AR-15 used in Newtown.
The association hopes to raise $90,000 by raffling off 4,000 tickets to cover the cost of new ice.
“We just want to get our message out that this is for a youth association, we’re not handing guns out to just people off the street, to people that come in,” Prochnow explained to KVLY. “They have to go through a background check, they have to go through all the hoops that everybody else does.”
“Kids start hunting at young age here with there parents. But we are not handing them out. This is a raffle for the kids.”
Yahoo! Sport blogger Cameron Smith called the raffle “the single worst-timed fundraising campaign ever.”
“Evidently ice is more important than common sense, at least in North Dakota,” Smith wrote.
Watch the video below from WDAY, broadcast Jan 30, 2013.