Minor League Baseball and Southern League officials stepped in to persuade the Huntsville Stars (Class AA; Southern League) to scrap a gun raffle set for July 3, but the Second Amendment promotion will go on as scheduled.
The Stars were working on the promotion with a local gun shop to give away two Ruger rifles and a Ruger pistol as part of a ballpark raffle. In addition, the team was planning on giving away copies of the Declaration of Independence. The gun raffle was scrapped, with MiLB and Southern League officials stepping in to persuade Huntsville GM Buck Rogers to drop the giveaway.
“We’re part of a larger organization and we have to uphold the game of baseball. It comes before everything we do,” Rogers told The Times/al.com. “Some teams do crazy promotions and fund-raising and we do that too. We’re still going to continue to have promotions and things to bring family entertainment to Huntsville.”
Three winners of a raffle-style contest would have received certificates at the park for a gun assuming they met other legal criteria, including background checks.
Rogers maintained that “it was a great idea” and seemed little different from similar promotions done by other local charities. Other raffle items, including autographed bats and game-worn jerseys, will still be available.
Was it really a great idea? No. Gun rights and gun control are hot-button issues that can easily be avoided by Minor League Baseball teams. The fact that Buck and crew felt the need to beef up security at the ballpark for the event is pretty stark proof that this was not a routine event: you don’t need to ramp up gate checks to prevent smuggled guns when you’re mounting an everyday promotion.
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