Non-Texans are concerned about a gun raffle in New Caney, but locals believe the initiative is right on target

FILE - In this April 10, 2013, file photo, a man holds a newly-assembled AR-15 rifle in New Britain, Conn. A gun shop in McHenry, Ill., is raffling an AR-15 rifle to benefit victims of the June 12, 2016, nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla. The semi-automatic weapon is similar to the one gunman Omar Mateen used in that shooting. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

AR-15 ownership is practically a way of life in Texas.

Used in everything from hunting to business, for many Texans, the high-powered rifle is purchased more for its adaptability than its potentially deadly capabilities.

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FILE – In this July 26, 2012, file photo, an “AR-15 style” rifle is displayed at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop in Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Given its military-grade hardware, coupled with its customizable configurations, the firearm is a popular choice across the country, with an estimated 5 million Americans owning AR-15s nationwide.

So, at least to the locals, it may be no surprise there’s one for sale as part of a graduation raffle near Houston to support a school-sponsored drug and alcohol free party for the matriculating class of 2017.

While requesting sponsors for a golf tournament and seeking donations drinks, the Project Graduation website for New Caney ISD does not reference the rifle specifically, but a partial flyer shared by KHOU shows tickets for $10 and an image of an AR-15, and Montgomery County police officials have confirmed and condoned proceeds from the raffle going to the senior class .

Photo via khou.com

Outside of the Lone Star State, however, there are reactions with undertones of concern for the fundraising efforts, including the Washington Post, which effectively called the initiative unbelievable.

This may be due to the fact that AR-15s and similar assault-style guns are weapons of choice among mass shooters, including the murderers of the Sandy Hook and Pulse Nightclub attacks.

Despite its menacing appearance and propensities, the overwhelming majority of Texans still believe it is people that kill others, not the guns themselves, and the graduation gun will only be available after a background check from an authorized gun store in the state.

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A winner for the AR-15 is set to be announced May 16.

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