Semi-Automatic Gun Prize

A semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun is one of the prizes being raffled off by the Delaware Spartans Youth Baseball program

A semi-automatic shotgun and pistol are the two prizes being offered in a fundraiser set up by a Sussex County youth baseball program.

The Under-13 Delaware Spartans, which held their tryouts in Georgetown, compete in regional tournaments, and like many youth programs rely on fundraisers such as pizzas, car washes, or bake sales to try to keep participation costs low.

Frank Payton with the Delaware Spartans told Delaware 105.9's Dan Gaffney Show Monday that their goal was to try to find a noteworthy fundraiser.

"My perspective right from the get-go was it was nothing to do about guns, it was setting our raffle apart from everyone else's raffle. It was catering to those who wanted to support our team. All the parents know their audience very well, they knew who they needed to go to. Were they going to sell purses, or did they want to sell the prizes we have in the raffle?"

First prize is an Eternal Arms Bullpup Semi-Auto 12-Gauge shotgun, with 5 & 10 round magazines. The other prize is a .22-caliber Heritage Rough Rider pistol.

Payton said they've heard criticism about their fundraiser from anti-gun groups.

"We feel bad that somebody would think that, but we're following all local and federal laws to make sure someone legally obtains it."

The raffle's rules state an entrant must be 21 years old, and that once the winner is determined, the gun will be transferred to a dealer with a Federal Firearms License. A mandatory background check will be conducted, and if the winner is not eligible, the team states the item(s) will simply be raffled off again next year.

The team's Facebook page said they have sold over 500 raffles to entrants in 28 states, including as far away as North Pole, Alaska. 

Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20, so at the minimum the team has raised at least $2,000 for what the team is calling a "week-long baseball experience in 2022."

"This is great for the kids," Payton told Gaffney. "We're not here to advocate for gun rights one way or the other, this is to help kids enjoy travel ball. Travel ball is a very expensive thing to be in, and it should be for anyone who can, or can't afford it, so that's why we do the raffles."

The raffle will be held on December 18, with the team hoping it can conduct the draw live on its Facebook page.