The organizer of a fundraiser raffling off an AR-15 to benefit a North Carolina high school wrestling team called it off amid concerns about rising gun violence nationwide.
Organizer Chris Ramsey said the raffle was intended to raise money for the wrestling team at Chase High School in Forest City, North Carolina, but he suspended it after receiving calls from people concerned about safety, according to local ABC affiliate WLOS.
"I wasn’t trying to ruffle anyone’s feathers," Ramsey said. "My sole intent was to help kids, help the kids' part of my program. That’s all we’re trying to do here, make an impact on the world through these kids."
"I did not in any way shape or form want to bring any negative publicity to them, to myself, my business, my family, my program and most of all, the school," Ramsey also told the local outlet. "I didn’t realize it was going to turn into what it has."
Ramsey, who is the assistant coach for the high school's wrestling team, noted that the raffle was not affiliated with the school or its students.
According to flyers promoting the event, participants were asked to chip in $20 for a chance at the AR-15, which was to be provided by a local jewelry and loan store in Forest City, which is about an hour's drive southeast of Asheville.
Ramsey explained that the student wrestlers need the money being raised because many of them cannot afford to pay for sports-related expenses. Many coaches use their own money to help, he added.
"This would have set our season up, and it would have taken that worry away from us as to how much I’m going to have to pay out of my pocket or the other coach covering out of their pocket," said Ramsey, who noted he would be refunding the roughly $350 the raffle raised.
The principal of Chase High School did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.
The controversy over the raffle prize comes amid calls for stricter gun laws in response to escalating gun violence across the country, including the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos used an AR-style rifle to kill 19 students and two teachers.