Kids With Guns: High School Trap Shooting on the Rise
Russ Chastain 08.04.15
A recent article at The New American calls trap shooting the “fastest-growing high school sport.” I like that.
When my father was 12 or 13 years old, he could take the 22 rifle that he had purchased with his own hard-earned money, hop on his bicycle, and pedal through the streets of Tampa in search of game to hunt or a place to shoot targets.
Even in the 1980s when I was coming of age, I could carry my little double-barreled 410 shotgun as I walked a couple blocks through a neighborhood to a patch of woods to hunt squirrels.
These days, either scenario would likely trigger panicked calls to 911 and the descent of paramilitary SWAT police upon young ‘uns with guns.
So it’s nice to see a sorta-kinda return to the days when kids were considered trustworthy and guns in schools were learning tools, not weapons.
In Minnesota, the state cited in the article, popularity of high school trap shooting is indeed growing by leaps and bounds.
By 2010, there were 340 students from around the state of Minnesota taking part in the sport. In 2012, there were 1,500. In 2014, there were 6,100.
In a short video on the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League website, it’s rightly observed that “in most sports, young athletes spend years honing skills that they’ll never use when they’re older. But one sport provides a gateway to a lifetime of enjoyment and expertise: shooting sports.”
Need another reason to like it? Try this: Unlike other school sports, trap shooting is extremely safe. The video notes that “since the [USA High School Clay Target League] began [in 2001], there hasn’t been a single injury to athletes or spectators, making clay target shooting the safest high school sport in the country.”
Education is important, and that’s certainly not limited to schoolbooks. Exposure to this sport is changing hearts and minds about guns. Students and parents alike are learning gun safety and the value of shooting and gun ownership, as well as the political struggle between those in power and an armed populace. When kids show in interest, it can help bring anti-gun parents around.
When Courtney Olson learned that her son Zac wanted to join the local trapshooting team at Lakeville South High School, she was repulsed at the idea. But once seeing him blossom into one of the school’s top shooters, she not only changed her mind but also helped Zac invest in a $1,400 shotgun and a $600 Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol as well.
Andy Krebs, a classmate of Zac’s, has turned into an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. Andy said, ‘I don’t know if I really would have been exposed to that had the team not come to the school.’ Now Andy often wears a t-shirt emblazoned with ‘Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.’
Kids with guns. It’s not scary when it’s done right. And if we educate our American youth about guns, they’ll enjoy the benefits for the rest of their lives.