Internet Melts Down Over Wyoming Kids Learning to Shoot In Their School Gym

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Hot Springs County School District kids rifles gym gun safety
Courtesy Hot Springs County School District #1

“This is what America needs more of,” one comment read. “Education and responsible firearm ownership.”

“This is so awesome! Probably one of the safest schools in the country too,” a commenter wrote. “I need to find a school like this for my son once he’s old enough!”

“CA masks their kids, Wyoming teaches marksmanship,” said another.

Of the nearly 6,000 comments, most are in support of the district.

Still, many expressed concern and anger.

“America is a dystopian hellhole,” a commenter said.

Some suggested that by teaching kids to work a gun, the school could be setting itself up for tragedy.

“Do they go straight from their gun marksmanship training to their active shooter drills?” asked another.

— Mitchell Willetts in 5th-graders learn to shoot guns by using school gym as target range, Wyoming photos show

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  1. No, these kids won’t grow up to be school shooters, they will grow up to shoot the school shooters. Funny, there are more murderers in CA per capita than in Wyoming. Coincidence?

    • Same. It was part of the JROTC program and almost every High School in the school district had an indoor 50′ range. We used .22 LR rifles for the marksmanship teams. It was very competitive and we took our rifles to matches at other schools throughout the city. This was in San Diego, CA during the 1980s.

    • My middle school had hunter safety. I took my .22 rifle to school, turned it over to the teacher/HS instructor until after school class. I took it home.


      At the end of the course, since we had no range to shoot at, the teacher divvied up all the ammo and targets between the students. I left that day with a rifle AND free ammo.

      Early-mid 70’s.

    • Our rifle range was off campus at the local gun club. Reading this does remind me of getting my trapper safety certificate. It’s like hunter safety but for trapping. The class was held in the school library. For final grades we skinned coyotes right there on the floor of the high school library! 1978 the good old days.

  2. Uh, I imagine that they are using .177 caliber pellet rifles? I have a hard time imagining that the school would risk damaging that beautiful gymnasium floor with .22 LR–especially with the targets practically sitting on top of the floor where someone is bound to shoot low at some point and send a projectile skipping off of the floor. And then there is the fact that the backstop appears to be a sheet of OSB (oriented strand board)–plus no one is wearing any visible hearing protection.

    Of course uninformed people who see that single photo and cannot be bothered to actually think (much less spend five minutes researching the topic of the photo) could easily fly off the handle due to a purely emotional reaction.

    • those bullseyes are low.
      agreed probably pellets. just as effective for gaining a sight picture.
      mine would go right through that glue board, the weber grill behind it not so much.
      funny to think that my “neurotic, hysterical, insecure, cloying need for validation, emotionally fragile, prone to childlike temper tantrums and outbursts of pure psychopathic hatred when frustrated” high school had a rifle range in the basement for the ol’ rotc program.
      bowling alley, too. never saw any of it function, though.

    • .177 target rifles have a very low velocity. Typically 450 fps. I have a Feinwerkbau 300S sitting in the back of my safe. I might have to dust it off and take it to the local small smallbore range.

      • I had not shot a pellet rifle in decades. Then the ammo shortages hit. I bought 2 break barrel .177’s. One for my home and one for my son and his boys. Haven’t shot a rimfire since.

        Great training aids and real cheap to shoot.

        • I broke mine out to kill ground squirrels, after one chewed up my car’s wiring harness to the tune of $850. Works fine.

      • really? must be special to “target rifles”
        One of my .177 rifles likes heavy pellets. if I use the light ones, they crack the sound barrier and cheaper pellets get unstable.

        • Target rifles in UIT air rifle and smallbore are built for accuracy, not power. They are powerful enough to launch a pellet over 10-25m.

          But accurate enough when shot off a rest to put multiple pellets through the same hole.

  3. I’m 48 and during Hunter Safety, which was part of my elementary PE, we shot BB guns and archery, and the teacher brought in examples of different firearms to show the various action types. I’m an RSO and instructor, and I think we should at least provide safety training at the elementary level.

  4. When I was in High School in Long Beach California 1963-1966, we had a sports shooting team. We took our .22 caliber rifles to school with us every day and practiced on the school shooting range after school and competed against many other schools in the area! All supported by the NRA safety classes and instructors! No one ever got hurt and none of us ever used our guns incorrectly! And we left our guns and ammo in our cars in the school parking lot when not shooting!

    In the same town when in junior high school and high school we went to summer camp with both the Boy Scouts and the YMCA and all of us shot rifles at their rifle ranges daily while in summer camp. Also used bows and arrows to shoot at targets. Again all above board and no one ever got hurt. Supervised by NRA Certified Instructors.

    As an adult in both Long Beach CA and San Diego CA I would got to the local Police Department Gun Range and fire all of my guns – pistols, rifles, shotguns, semi-automatics, single shots, revolvers – at the range operated by the Police Department. All very safe and supervised and again Safety Classes provided by the NRA and the local police.

    What ever happened to America and our Freedom???? Better to teach kids gun safety and responsibility (including self defense) than to let the illegal aliens, criminal gangs, thugs, terrorists, BLM and Antifa have all the guns!

    • NC Taxman,

      What ever happened to America and our Freedom????

      Good people let evil people take over our schools and universities, media/entertainment, corporate boardrooms, and government.

      And then the evil people in charge of those institutions encouraged society to let their emotions determine their positions/decisions. At that point human nature took over and emotions have carried us to where we are today.

      • “let evil people”


        just some random whoever? some random whoever who collude with politicians and media and financial institutions all around the world for multiple generations to determinedly push goals that they all just happen to find and adopt at the same time?


        • Da Joooooos!

          When are you neo-Nazi idiots going to figure out that the American answer to “pick a flavor of totalitarianism” is simply “no”? We reject theirs AND yours.

    • NC Taxman – I’m a bit surprised that you did all of that in CALIFORNIA. Yeah, I see the dates, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, but still . . . just when did they get so batshit crazy?

      • Paul,

        When the dipshits in KKKalifornia re-elected Governor Moonbeam. (I can actually forgive them for electing him the first time – his father was corrupt as hell, but actually a decent governor.) Haven’t had a decent governor since.

      • for me. same time period but about thirty miles east (Orange COunty) my school ws smallso we did not have space for a rifle range. But I took my own .22 LR bolt action rifle, literally tied it up to my ten speed, and rode out into the hills east of Orange and went shooting. I could buy my own ammo t the lcao Western Auto, a whopping thirty nine cents for a box of fifty .22 wrf. No one ever even looked or thought twice about it. Just life. I’d also ride the 17 miles down to Newport and take out our 26 food wood hulled sailboat. No adults involved.

  5. My comment above touches upon the core problem with our nation–with mankind for that matter: emotion driving a person’s decision/position.

    Emotion enables spouses to commit adultery.

    Emotion enables parents to beat their children.

    Emotion enables politicians to rip-off their voters.

    Emotion enables thieves to steal.

    Emotion enables rapists to rape.

    Emotion enables murderers to murder.

    All of our problems happen when emotion determines, rather than informs, our decisions and positions.

  6. Internet melts down over everything.
    Our mistake is assuming the Internet matters.
    Although, every corporate entity and political PAC seems to believe the Internet matters and they essentially control our environment so I guess the Internet does matter.

    Letting the 10% of the population that is vocal on Twitter run the world is like letting the kid with the helmet and “Caution, I bite” badge drive the short bus. All the kids are going off the cliff.

    • Shire-man,

      Our mistake is assuming that the Internet matters.

      I will tell you why the Internet matters a great deal, perhaps more than anything up to this point in History.

      Humans respond to their environment in predictable ways. Therefore a person’s behavior is almost entirely a function of how they perceive their environment. Thus, if you have a basic understanding of human behavior and can control someone’s perception of their environment, you can largely control that person.

      The ultimate result: if you can control society’s perception of their environment, you can largely control society. And that is exactly what the Ruling Class has done for the last 100 years since they controlled society’s only meaningful source of information about their environment (the big three original television networks, a few big city newspapers, and a few influential magazines).

      Of course the Internet threatened the stranglehold which the Ruling Class held on society’s understanding of their environment. Hence the Ruling Class’ Herculean effort to control Internet information flow.**

      The really sinister aspect of this: controlling society’s perception of their environment allows the Ruling Class to control society without society even realizing that the Ruling Class is manipulating, exploiting, and abusing them.

      ** See reply below for a few examples of how the Ruling Class has attempted to control Internet information flow.

      • Here are a few examples of how the Ruling Class attempts to control Internet information flow:

        — Manipulate Internet search results to strategically quash/elevate specific people and content.

        — Manipulate social media platforms to strategically quash/elevate specific people and messaging.

        — Conspire and cooperate in the private sector to totally shut down social media platforms which refuse to strategically quash/elevate specific people and messaging.

      • Addition: By using ubiquitous, addictive elements — like social media — to hack society’s emotional perceptions, they reduce the need to control the entire information flow.

        The public sentiment on display in venues like Twitter and Facebook is every bit as real as reality TV shows and WWE wrestling (i.e., it’s fake and contrived, made to seem natural).

        But the emotional triggers are very real and powerful. Emotion operates at an instinctive level; reason must be applied consciously, after the initial reaction. And as Shire Man said, when all the biggest corporations and PACs blow with the winds of social media, that fake/contrived environment starts to matter very much to people that aren’t in it.

        It’s a horrifying thought, but the Masters of the Universe are altering reality right in front of our eyes, and you can’t escape it just by unplugging.

  7. I’m getting old. I can remember when it wasn’t all that uncommon for 18-year-olds to skip the first or last class (if it was a study hall) during deer season and show up to school with a firearm handing in the rear window of their pick-up truck. Nobody though a thing about it.

    • I remember as a kid I took my new semi-auto .22 to school once for a show-n-tell report type of thing.

      It was not uncommon where we lived for 6-7-8 year olds to been seen out with a .22, no one ever got shot with them, no kids ever had accidents with them, we all knew the rules and safety needs and requirements having been taught them at school and them drummed into us by our parents and any of the other adults around. It wasn’t uncommon for an adult passing by to remind us to be safe and remind us of the safety rules. We ran around hunting and plinking with them, squirrels and rabbits and old empty cans and maybe the occasional actual paper target were doomed and that was it. Kids got guns and ammo and sometimes ‘accessories’ (like a case) for Christmas and birthdays sometimes, mostly .22’s but sometimes larger calibers if they were going to be embarking on their first hunting trips soon and sometimes just ’cause.

      The kids around had single shot bolt action .22’s, I was the first one to get a semi-auto .22 and the teacher asked if I wanted to bring it to school for the report thing (if I wrote my report on it) and I did.

      No one got shot, no one panicked and sent the school into lock down, swat teams didn’t show up. Read my report, showed the gun, passed it around a little so others could get a closer look, got an ‘A’ and then it was time for lunch in the cafeteria under the watchful stern eye of the cafeteria lady Mrs. Williams who would watch to see if you acted nice in line while getting your food and in the cafeteria and said ‘thank you’ to the people serving. You didn’t act nice in the cafeteria or didn’t say ‘thank you’ then you were pretty much doomed to spend extra time with Ms. Williams after school assigning you work to do which was usually scrubbing down the floor with a sponge where spills had happened and cleaning the tables then you took out the garbage and washed and dried any remaining dishes and pans and silverware by hand.

      (note for lock-down: Today lock down safe space procedures (overall) in schools result in more than half the victim death and injury. Most dead or injured victims of school shootings are found within 30 feet of a lock down safe space where they are denied entry after the door is locked. School shooters who were students know this, so they hunt the lock down safe spaces because there’s a good chance that almost 75% of the students have been locked out of lock down safe spaces if the shooting starts during class change. 75% of the students are left to try to get away the best they can, some go for the lock down safe spaces like the drills teach them and they can’t get in and some find other spaces or just leave the school. The lock down safe spaces thing works better in some schools than others.)

      • This is why, since we lived only a few blocks from the school, we always told our kids to hightail it for home the second one of those “this is not a drill” moments happened. Far better to GTF *all* the way out of Dodge if you can. And if they called us on the way out, they’d have an armed escort meeting them at the edge of the school grounds.

        • and right after the Scammy Crooks “shoting” in MA or cT or whereer it was, foks in Ohio put togehter their amaing FASTER Saves LIves programme, got the legislaturoe to go along with it by changing state law to allow school staff, if they voluntered, to take the week long intensive traingin and thus be one of those able to go about their dailywork at the schools whilst armed. Over 2000 such staff were trained and on duty. NO ONE but the school principal knew who was traine, and even he did not know who was actively carrying, only who COULD be. and e was charged to tell no one. Not one incident in any of the chool districtswhere this programme was put in plce during the years it has been. word got out.. in thes districts, some of the adults MAY be armed. That was enough.
          Laterl the stupid Ohio lpoohbahs are not demanding these teachers all take the entire pollice training school, a weeks long course including things like car persuit tactics, handling of arrest warants, and all kinds of things schoolstaff will never need. Oh well. The Leg is considering canges to law to avoid this. They lke what the programme has done so far. These adults are alredy AT the schools, are known and trusted, are dedicated to the students nd trusted by them. THEY are already there.
          Imagine, that dirtbag shooter back in Connecticut, walking thorugh the hals shooting dults and kids, entering Mr.s Clarke’s third grade classroom, where she has all the kids down low out of sight, where the perp can’t see tem, and SHE is stainding in just the right place to see HIM when he enters, but he does not see her yet….. but starts to turn and look just as she has fired her first round into his torsy, driopping him to the floor. How many of HER kids got shot? None. Fisrst Respoders are the FIRT ONES THERE.. and she was. And trained. Adn ready. And of the line for Mr. Dirtbag. Three hundred other kids and thirty adults are now safe.

          One more detail about FASTER. It costs the taxpayers NOTHING. All training time and facilities are donated for the purpose, , instructors and other trianers volunteerr, ammunition is donated by gun stores and manufacturers, targets donated, teachers are almost all currently holding their Ohio Mother MayI Card to carry concealed, and hav their own perosnal carry weapons that they already know and trust. NO COST to Ohio taxpayers.

        • Lock down safe spaces are a kinda of stupid plan. I get the concept, but its execution is not a solution. The human animal is the only animal species that thinks its a good thing to stay in the predators hunting zone.

        • Now that’s the way to do it, Tionico.

          It’s not Homo Sapiens that thinks it’s a good idea to stay in the kill zone — that’s the degenerate subspecies, Homo Progressivus.

  8. Seeing Freedom upsets power hungry people who reside in ivory towers and scrutinize everything and everyone. With all the democRat Party criminal coddling defund the police going on there is no telling when a youngster will be placed in a position to protect their family from attack by a criminal who has a a mile long rap sheet and should be in prison and not on the streets.

    Whoever has a problem with qualified adults providing righteous direction for kids instead of their airhead friends providing direction can go pound sand.

    • Whiny be-otches will whine. One of my(rare)identically named distant cousins was a leader in air rifles both shooting & organizing competition. Recently too. No shooting team when I was in school but my dad was on the rifle team in HS way back in the 1920’s. In Illinois. There’s a horde of hunters in ILLanoy…

  9. In the gym? I might feel a bit anxious, to be honest. The potential for a ricochet seems a bit too high for my taste.

    Oh, sorry. Caption from the fine article photograph says, “A school district in Wyoming posted pictures of 5th and 6th grade students shooting targets with air rifles in a school gym. ” We’re cool! When they are ready for .22 and more powerful firearms, I hope they’ll move to a purpose built range.

  10. when growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, Harborview Grade school in Juneau, Alaska had a shooting range in the basement. Parents could sign children up for Gun safety and marksmanship classes. They used Anshutz single shot .22 LR rifles. Guess what? no one got shot or injured. Just great fun!. Hell out school bus in High school had a shotgun rack. We could take shotguns to school, where they were placed in a secure locked in the principal’s office, they were given back to us after school. We then would walk home and shoot ducks in the many ponds on the way. Guess what? No one shot, no one hurt.

    It was common to see kids walking through town with a rifle, Cops would pull up and ask if you had any luck hunting. They would congratulate you and then drive away. There was no concern that a kid was going to shoot anything but squirrels.

  11. TTAG, the “Recommended for You” section keeps duplicating itself in Safari on iOS every 30 seconds. This increases the page length and shifts the browser view in Safari up by the same about of length every 30 seconds. When reading comments every 30 seconds the browser shifts up by a comment or two forcing the user to scroll back down to finish reading.

  12. Growing up in New Zealand I sat my firearms license in school at 16 and competed on the school shooting team. Wyoming is on the right track here and it’s something we need to institute in a lot more school districts.

  13. I remember schools with real gun ranges for 22LR in the basements, and kids driving to school with a shotgun or hunting rifle in the back window of their pickup trucks. Nobody freaked.

  14. Tttttt…..and it was only 50 yrs ago the ROTC dept at my high school taught the cadets to become a Marksman as part of the total school curriculum.
    We are watching the ‘wussification” of this country’s young generation/s. It’s been going on for the last 20+ yrs now and we’re now seeing it’s results.

  15. “neurotic, hysterical, insecure, cloying need for validation, emotionally fragile, prone to childlike temper tantrums and outbursts of pure psychopathic hatred when frustrated”


  16. More interested n the technology in use. You’d think a good writer would have included that information so everyone would know if the rifles used BBs, or percussive ammo.

  17. I too have pleasant memories of Hunter Safety Class in middle school. We got to go to the big city Sheriffs Dept basement shooting range. It was an ancient building and the walls around the targets were all shot to shit! I imagined in my head excited cops spraying .45s around while training with tommyguns back in the ’30s. We also had .22 single shot rifles and were so happy and safe. Good times indeed.

  18. “America is a dystopian hellhole,” a commenter said.

    Dude, it’s not like they’re shooting cutout images of you and your commie friends in preparation for fixing said hellhole, calm the fuck down.

    Netflix and chill, brah. Netflix and chill.

  19. This is a wonderful sight to behold. Thank god for a supportive school staff and parents. This is building the future of the 2A. And of course this is not in a red communist state.

  20. Meanwhile in china, children are taught ‘the art of war’, from a very young age. Here in America, Land of the Free and home of the BRAVE. People are upset kids are shooting air rifles in a gym. There will be horror alright and it wont be from any countrymen’s kids shooting air rifles. The ones who are scared of children learning a useful skill will be the same ones who turn and give you to the enemy.

  21. To steal and redo a movie line….

    “I love the sound of head pops in the morning….sounds like Victory”

    And with the supply chain issue there may not be enough Duct tape for them to keep their heads from exploding…..hehehehe

  22. On one hand we are told we need to have safety training and show proficiency to own a firearm. On the other hand when that is being done, they freak out. Can’t have it both ways, either pick a lane or get out of the way.

    These kids are better off with the knowledge they are acquiring even if they don’t become firearm owners or live in a home where firearm’s are had.

    Next course should be some good old fashion drill and ceremony. Then we have some Militia training included for the training and a cause for the vapors for the anti’s.

    • “On one hand we are told we need to have safety training and show proficiency to own a firearm. On the other hand when that is being done, they freak out. Can’t have it both ways,…”

      Know your enemy.

      The apparently contradictory statements are perfectly logical. If a person is a gun owner, they must have “training” (whatever that means), but if a person is not already a gun owner or living with a gun owner, especially a person who is a kid, or teenager, it is unacceptable to own guns. And there should be no contact or training, in order to protect the non-gun owner from having anything to do with guns.


  24. In 1972 my High School here in California had a rifle team. 22LR! I don’t know when they stopped. There was so much more freedom back then.

  25. In my 8th grade public school woodshop class, I made the recurve bow that I still use for hunting. Not much weapon making in schools, these days.

  26. Significantly, the kids are learning how to shoot, for instance, any danger. But I would love to see my kid does not forget about general math because it can be helpful too for making decisions. For example, alternate coordinate systems questions and solutions that you can find at and models that you can use for fundamentals. My point is that the kids would need theoretical knowledge so they can make decisions in the situation they will need to do something on their own in uncertainty.

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