A parent organization is raffling off a semi-automatic rifle as a graduation fundraiser for students at a Florida high school.

The fundraiser for students at Astronaut High School in Titusville, Fla., is being organized by volunteers with the Project Graduation program, an organization run by parents that raises money to provide supervised events for students after their graduation ceremony. 

Russell Bruhn, chief strategic communications officer for Brevard Public Schools, told The Hill that both Astronaut High School and the school district do not receive funds from the program.


"The school district has no affiliation with Project Graduation," he said, adding that school officials have told organizers to remove the name of the high school from flyers promoting the fundraiser.

“We were made aware that Project Graduation has a raffle where the prize is a gun,” Bruhn said. "We understand that this is a sensitive subject and we want to remind our community that this raffle is NOT being run through Astronaut High or Brevard Public Schools.”

A photo shared on Facebook of a flyer promoting the fundraiser shows a Diamondback 15CCMLB, a military-style firearm. 

The fundraiser drew sharp criticism from some parents at the school and community members, according to local news. However, many parents supported the promotion and defended the rights of community members to raffle off, and own, firearms. 

It is legal to raffle off a firearm. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a licensee must either transfer the weapon to an organization or bring the firearm to the raffle, in addition to other precautions.