The stigmatization and de-legitimizing of gun owners, their tools and their pastimes continue apace. The latest example is an effort in New York to ban public school rifle, trap and archery programs in the state. The majority of these programs are, of course, located in schools in upstate New York, a cultural and political world away from The Big Anti-Gun Apple. But it’s an Assemblywoman from Manhattan’s west side who’s trying to kill these programs for kids in the rest of the state.
Why? Because guns, of course.
Does it matter that recent studies have shown that participating in the shooting sports improves concentration and impulse control in kids with ADHD? No. No it doesn’t.
Does it matter that these programs teach responsible, safe gun use to hundreds of students every year? You bet it does. That’s exactly the kind of behavior that Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal wants to discourage. Fewer school-based target shooting programs now means fewer gun owners and less support for Second Amendment rights down the road.
As Rosenthal wrote:
Marksmanship programs in public schools were once popular, but a rise in gun violence and school shootings in recent years has spurred a long overdue re-evaluation of their place in our students curriculum. A number of schools which still operate marksmanship programs do so through grants from the National Rifle Association, including Parkland, Fla. high school where a former student and marksmanship team member murdered 17 students and teachers in February 2018.
Ah. There’s the problem. The NRA is involved. God knows we can’t have that.
In 1990, Congress passed the Gun Free School Zones Act to prohibit the possession of firearms on school grounds, but left exemptions for police officers and school security as well as students possessing firearms as part of an approved school program. Research shows that an increase in guns leads to an increase in gun injuries and deaths, whether intentional or not. To create a true, gun-free school zone we cannot allow students to possess and discharge firearms on school property.
And because Nikolas Cruz participated in an air rifle program — an NRA-supported air-rifle program — this kind of thing simply has to go.
Each winter, the New York State Public High School Association holds a regional rifle championship. One was held March 3 at West Point.
According to the New York State Sportswriters Association, there are nearly 60 trap shooting teams across the state that are about to begin their season in the New York State High School Clay Target League.
One of the league’s attractions is that that league is co-ed and provides adaptations for handicapped shooters. Teams are open to students in grades 6-12.
Don’t expect the wholesome co-ed, handicap-enabling nature of the programs to cut any ice with a Manhattan pol like Linda Rosenthal. Besides, her do-something bill will only inconvenience upstate kids. Let them eat gluten-free, organic cake. It won’t affect anyone in her open-minded, enlightened, progressive Assembly district.