Gun raffle for youth hockey league reveals America’s culture split on guns

Updated
The West Fargo Hockey Association website promotes a gun raffle to raise money for league teams in North Dakota.
The West Fargo Hockey Association website promotes a gun raffle to raise money for league teams in North Dakota.

If you want a clear example of the nation’s cultural divide on guns, look at how a youth hockey organization in North Dakota is raising money.

The West Fargo Hockey Association is raffling off 200 guns, including three Rock River AR-15 assault rifles, similar to the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the Sandy Hook attack that killed 20 children.

Association President Cal Helgeson says the funds raised by the raffle, which is perfectly legal, will help league teams with players as young as four years old get the time they need inside ice rinks this season.

“With our 20% increase in association members this year, we have a big need for ice,” Helgeson told KVLY.

“The timing is a little awkward,” West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern admitted to The Huffington Post. “I think that’s a fair statement to say, given the discussion going on around the country.”

But organizer Mike Prochnow says the raffle was planned in August 2012, four months before the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

In other words, this is just another day at the office for how to raise money for youth sports in the middle of the country.

We’re a diverse country when it comes to religion and race. We have a big tent. But we have a real cultural divide on how we accept the use of firearms and people’s rights to own firearms.

Try a raffle like this on the East Coast or the West Coast right now. No way.

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Gun raffle for youth hockey league reveals America's culture split on guns

Updated