BELTON, Mo. — A Belton, Missouri, police nonprofit has decided not to raffle off an AR-15 rifle at a D.A.R.E. fundraiser.

A spokesman for the Belton Police Department said the Belton Police Athletic Association, an independent nonprofit, has sponsored a D.A.R.E. charity event for 30 years. Proceeds go toward the D.A.R.E. program in Belton schools.

D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is a police officer-led program on drug use and violence prevention.

In recent years, the group has raffled off firearms to raise money for the program. A spokesman for the Belton Police Department said the raffle winner always has to receive the firearm through a federally licensed gun dealer and pass all applicable background checks.

Spokesman Lt. Dan Davis said the Belton Police Athletic Association decided months ago that it would raffle off an AR-15 rifle.

“After recent tragic events, the Belton Police Athletic Association decided that it would be inappropriate to continue with the raffle as planned,” Davis said in an email to FOX4.

Over 30 people have died in two mass shootings in recent weeks. Ten people were killed at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store, and 21 people, including 19 children, were killed at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school. Both gunmen used AR-15 rifles.

Organizers plan to refund raffle ticket holders. The group is looking into other fundraising opportunities for the D.A.R.E. program going forward.

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