Originally published August 5 2015
American high schools embrace shooting as a sport and an important skill as liberal disarmament propaganda fails
by Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews) Growing up in southeast Texas, my peers and I learned gun safety and shooting skills at an early age. We were taught, usually by our dads, the basics of how to handle a firearm safely, how to clean and take care of one, how to hit a can or bottle at 50 yards.
Many of us went on to become hunters, some became competitive shooters, but all of us learned an important skill and had a lot of fun in the process. It was one of the rites of passage into adulthood.
There was little talk of gun rights or gun control back then - guns were not a problem, they were a part of our normal lives. There may be more gun violence these days, but one fact hasn't changed - there are still millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in America. They just don't get much publicity, except when they're being vilified by those who want to take their guns away.
But despite the current outcry against gun ownership, many American kids are discovering the joys of competitive shooting - particularly trap shooting, a sport which is rapidly becoming more popular among young Midwesterners.
Trap shooting's recent rise in popularity is largely due to the efforts of Jim Sable, a Minnesota businessman who has been busy promoting the sport and who formed the USA State High School Clay Target League in 2001.
Sable was concerned that trap shooting was a dying art and believed that introducing it into schools as an extracurricular activity was the best way to revive it.
He successfully pitched the program to reportedly "wary" educators, and now the league has grown to include nearly 10,000 high school students in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Trap shooting is the fastest-growing sport among high schools in Minnesota and the state legislature has agreed to spend $2 million to expand shooting ranges where the teens can participate in competitions.
Other states are starting trap shooting programs as the sport continues to catch on among kids.
Safety first The programs adhere to rigid standards: In Sable's league, members must obtain state-issued safety permits, no guns are allowed on campus. His motto is: "Safety, fun and marksmanship, in that order."
The league has a clean track record, with no injuries or "backlash" to report.
"John Nelson, the league vice president, said that while some schools don't permit yearbook photos of team members posing with firearms, there's been no backlash. Gun-control advocates, in fact, haven't opposed trap as a school sport. But they disagree with boosters' contention that its spread will reduce accidents by teaching children how to safely handle the weapons, citing data showing gun-owning households are at higher risk of homicide and suicide by firearm."
While it's encouraging that gun-control advocates don't actively oppose the sport, their skepticism regarding the reduction of accidents is typical of their narrow-minded stance, especially considering the flawed statistical argument they refer to. It would seem rather obvious that suicide and homicide rates by firearm would of course be higher in gun-owning households. That's like saying more car accidents happen on streets and highways than off-road. But never mind...
The fact remains that high school trap shooting leagues have proven to be beneficial, safe and fun for kids. Responsible gun ownership and usage should be encouraged for American youth. It is precisely this type of activity that can prevent accidents - anyone who grew up in a responsible gun-owning household knows that from experience.
If it weren't for the careful attention my father, and others like him, paid to teach gun safety when I was a kid, there could have easily been an accident.
Learning how to respect and use firearms is a skill that nearly every kid can benefit from and people like Jim Sable should be appreciated for their efforts to provide the opportunity.
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