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State

Big interest in Ill. gun raffle for youth baseball

ATWOOD – The raffle of a semiautomatic rifle to benefit a youth baseball league in eastern Illinois hasn’t even officially begun, but it’s already generating interest as far away as Alaska and Florida.

Charidy Butcher is co-owner of the Atwood Armory gun shop, which is offering up the AR-15 rifle.

She said the fundraiser doesn’t officially start until April, but the shop has already sold nearly $3,000 in tickets and is getting inquiries from people in other states.

She’s also challenging criticism that it’s inappropriate to raffle a weapon to benefit children.

Butcher told The (Champaign) News-Gazette that the children “have nothing to do with it” and the shop is “just raising money for them.”

The league said its baseball equipment badly needs repair or replacement that it can’t afford.

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