School Gun Clubs Thrive Amid Anti-Gun Activism

There are an estimated 5,000 teams at high schools and universities, says the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Their popularity hasn’t waned despite criticism after it emerged that the gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school was a member of the JROTC rifle team.

As their classmates took to the streets to protest gun violence and to implore adults to restrict guns, teens and young adults at high school and college gun ranges around the U.S. gathered to practice shooting and talk about the positive influence firearms have had on their lives, the Associated Press reports. What do they learn? Patience, discipline and responsibility. “I’ve never gone out onto a range and not learned something new,” said Lydia Odlin, a 21-year-old member of the Georgia Southern University rifle team.

There are an estimated 5,000 teams at high schools and universities, says the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Their popularity hasn’t waned despite criticism after it emerged that the gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school was a member of the JROTC rifle team. The youths who are involved say there’s an enormous difference between someone bent on violence and school gun clubs that focus on safety and teach skills that make navigating life’s hardships easier. Memmbers invest hundreds of dollars in specialized uniforms and shoes that provide stability and support for spending hours standing, kneeling or lying prone to fire at targets down range. Some have hopes of representing the U.S. in the Olympics. Some simply love the camaraderie and mental focus required. “So many people have assumed … that guns are bad,” says JP O’Connor, a coach with USA Shooting, an Olympic organization. “Some people say, ‘I can’t believe you’re teaching kids to shoot.’ Well, I’m not teaching kids to shoot. I’m teaching kids life skills. And I’m teaching them about a topic that is very contentious … and when we educate people about something and they’re not ignorant about it, then we’re actually safer.”

from https://thecrimereport.org