According to new reports, Tractor Supply has joined the "anti-gun" bandwagon, and banned charities that sell raffle tickets for a chance to win a firearm from their storefront.
This is due to a customer complaint at the Palenstine, Texas location from earlier in the month, which led the store's corporate office to ban any and all raffles that offer a gun as a prize.
In the wake of several mass shootings in the past several months – two in Texas – that left dozens dead and dozens more wounded, many private businesses have restructured their firearms policies.
Most recently, Walmart, the world's largest retailer, announced they would stop carrying pistol ammunition, and certain long-barrel ammunition commonly associated with assault rifles like AK-47's and AR-15's.
“The Tractor Supply manager has always been super nice,” Master Mason James Ashley told the Harold, “I'm sure he was caught between a rock and a hard place when corporate made their ruling.”
“Frankly, I'm surprised Tractor Supply made that call [to ban firearm raffles],” Tractor Supply employee Jennifer Key said, “But, they're a private company, and it's their call to make.”
Last year, three high school students – one each from Palestine, Westwood, and Neches High Schools – won $1,000 scholarships from Palestine's Masonic Temple, Lodge 31.
The scholarship money came from raffle tickets sold outside storefronts like Tractor Supply. This year's prize: a Henry Golden Boy .22 caliber rifle.
“It's a trophy rifle, not a so-called assault weapon,” Ashley's father, Tom Ashley said, “Still, someone called in a complaint to their headquarters, and corporate disallowed it.”
Ashley claims that the award was likely to be increased to $1,500 this year, but now that one of their best outlets for selling tickets is gone, they may not be able to do so.
Also on the sidewalk when the Masons were told to leave was Henry Kitchens of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Post 991. The VVA was also raffling off firearms; a .308 rifle, and a 9mm handgun.
Kitchens, whose organization provided six $1,000 scholarships to local students last year through raffle proceeds, was also told to leave.
“I don't hold anything against Tractor Supply,” Kitchens said, “They've always been good to us. It's a shame that one person's complaint can disenfranchise everyone else, however.”
For more on the story, click here.