Lucama, N.C. — To raise money for class field trips, a Wilson County school plans to raffle off a rifle during its school carnival next month.
A member of the local chapter of hunting organization Delta Waterfowl donated a muzzle-loading rifle to Lucama Elementary School for its Sept. 14 Fun Fest.
Principal John Joyner obtained approval from Wilson County Schools Superintendent Sean Bulson to raffle off the gun, as long as students weren't connected with it in any way.
"It's an unusual fundraiser – kind of an unusual request – but at no time will this weapon be on campus," school district spokeswoman Amber Whitley said, noting that students also won't be allowed to buy or sell any tickets to the raffle.
Joyner couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.
Chris Williams, regional director of Delta Waterfowl, said he's been inundated by phone calls as word spread around town about the raffle. Many times, he's clearing up confusion over the gun, which had been advertised in some fliers as a shotgun.
"We're in a farming community. We're a hunting community. It's the culture," William said, explaining why a school would sell a gun to raise money. "I've had the question asked to me, 'Well, why aren't you giving a TV or iPad away?' That isn't the means that we have."
Local parents were divided on the issue.
Clarence Jackson said he doesn't think it's appropriate. "Not with all the school shootings, I don't. I really don't," he said.
Karen Williams said she doesn't see anything wrong with the raffle.
"With it being an elementary school and the gun is not going to be on campus, from what I understand, I don't really have a problem with it," Williams said.
Interest in the rifle is boosting the potential haul for Lucama Elementary from the raffle. Williams said 20 $5 raffle tickets were printed up initially, but at least 300 more are being printed to meet demand.