Great article on competitive shooting from Time: http://time.com/longform/high-school-shooting-teams/

Comments:
Regularly-held, actively-promoted, formally-organized shooting events such as competitive shooting are the best approach (and arguably the only sensible approach) to earning pro-gun publicity and building a positive image of gun owners and gun ownership. We need to recognize active and successful firearm users and consistently get that message out. The firearm industry and related organizations have done a horrible job at this for a century.

Mr. Bogenreif’s quip, “Bet that one isn’t going in the yearbook” about a picture of a shooting team indicates a wrong-minded victim mentality that incorrectly blames the mythical anti-gun media.

Here’s an example:
https://firearmusernetwork.com/award-winning-pennsylvania-high-school-rifle-team-left-out-of-yearbook/

Yes, it’s easy enough to find an anti-gun slant but the lack of pro-gun coverage is our fault. We simply don’t have the participation rates and reportage to push a different narrative. Look at the numbers of high school students playing various ball sport games versus shooting teams.
https://firearmusernetwork.com/ball-sports-shooting/

Data on firearms at school indicates they are not inherently dangerous:
Schools that Allow Teachers to Carry Guns are Extremely Safe: Data on the Rate of Shootings and Accidents in Schools that allow Teachers to Carry
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3377801

The Minnesota State High School Clay Target League championship bills itself as the largest shooting sports event in the world. With the bustling crowds and flood of corporate interest, it could be mistaken for, say, a scene on the NASCAR circuit, except that the stars are teenage boys and girls. And they’re armed. That’s the entire point, of course, in a shooting competition, but there are moments when the world beyond scorecards and ear protection edges into view. Bernie Bogenreif, coach for the Roseville Area High School trap team, detects one such instance as competitors from another school line up for a team photo: a couple of dozen kids arranged, shoulder to shoulder, guns in hand.

“Bet that one isn’t going in the yearbook,” -Bogenreif quips.

Then again, it might. In much of the country, the words guns and schools do tend to go together more often in horrific headlines than under a senior portrait, wedged between Class Treasurer and Spring Track. But more and more yearbooks are marking competitive shooting as a part of high school life. Even as mass shootings have inspired protests and walkouts in many schools, a growing number—-sometimes the same schools—are sanctioning shooting squads as an extracurricular activity. In 2015, for example, 9,245 students, in 317 schools across three states, participated in the USA High School Clay Target League. Since then, participation has spiked 137%: in 2018, 21,917 students, from 804 teams in 20 states—-including New York and California, as well as Texas—competed.

The uptick reflects at least two complex and relentlessly challenging realities—guns in America and adolescence. On one level, high school shooting teams weave themselves into the national debate over firearms. The NRA has funded these programs. From 2014 to 2016, the latest three years for which the NRA Foundation’s tax returns are publicly available, the organization provided more than $4 million in cash and equipment grants to schools and organizations that support scholastic sports shooting. The support dovetails with the group’s original emphasis on gun safety and training. But it also aligns with the NRA’s transformation into a political power-house that frames firearm ownership with a defiant cultural conservatism. There’s a reason Barry Thompson, a service engineer for medical equipment who has a lifetime NRA membership, helps coach the East Ridge High School team. “I’m upfront with the parents,” says Thompson, 59. “I am out here with an ulterior motive. These kids will be voting.”

To attract the youth demo to shooting sports, Sable proposed that schools form teams. At first, the sell proved difficult. In one of Sable’s first meetings with an education board, he learned a key lesson, he says. Never use the words kids, guns and schools in one sentence unless you want a predictable response: Are you crazy?

Sable, an avuncular pitchman who founded the USA High School Clay Target League and just retired as its president, refined his argument. He asked administrators to pretend, for a second, that he didn’t represent a shooting sports organization. Imagine instead that he was asking them to start an activity that causes concussions, broken collarbones and fractured legs. No way, right? He then reminds them he’s describing football.

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