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U.S. High Schools Embrace Shooting as Hot New Sport

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U.S. High Schools Embrace Shooting as Hot New Sport

The giddy 13-year-old boys oohed and aahed as they stared down the black shotgun barrels and aimed at clay targets they imagined whizzing through the air.

“You guys are welcome to test any of these out,” said Dusty Minke, a sales agent for Browning, as the teens elbowed each other for spots at his kiosk. “We’ve actually had a couple of kids who did so good on the test range that they were like, ‘Can I use this for my rounds?’ We let ‘em, and their scores went up -- and they’ll hopefully go and buy one.”

It was day six of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League championship, the world’s biggest shooting-sport event. Minke could see potential customers in every direction, kids as young as 11 who’d tumbled out of their parents’ cars in camouflage T-shirts beginning at 7 a.m.

In 2009, the contest’s first year, it drew 30 shooters. In June there were 5,134, more than 20,000 spectators and sponsors including Benelli Armi SpA and SKB Shotguns. Trap shooting is the fastest-growing sport in Minnesota high schools, and was recently introduced in neighboring Wisconsin and North Dakota. While it may make anti-gun activists uneasy, it’s a boon for manufacturers and retailers that have stoked its growth.

Trap shooting is the fastest-growing sport in Minnesota high schools

“This is the best thing to happen to the shooting sports in 50 years,” said Dennis Knudson, a 74-year-old lifelong trap shooter, after watching his grandson compete. “It’s so fun to see the youngsters stepping up. It will preserve the sport, and they’ll do it for the rest of their lives.”

Therein lies the appeal for the industry. The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates the average 16-year-old competitor will spend $75,000 over his or her lifetime.

‘Just Cool’

U.S. gun sales have begun to level after a spike caused by fears that mass shootings, including the 2012 elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, would lead to restrictions. High-school trap offers a wholesome marketing opportunity for gunmakers and retailers like Cabela’s Inc., which underwrite events and donate to teams. Manufacturers tailor products for smaller bodies and budgets, such as the lightweight $480 SXP Trap by Winchester Repeating Arms. The league estimates teams’ spending will top $5 million this year.

Competitive musketry dates to 16th century England and has been an Olympic sport since 1896. Today trap, a cousin of skeet and sporting clays, is as popular with Minnesota’s urban boys and girls as it is with their counterparts in rural areas, where hunting’s in the DNA. “It’s just cool, because I get to use a gun,” said Stephanie Petsilis, 17, who shoots for Wayzata High School outside Minneapolis with a $1,430 Browning BT-99 Micro.

Happy Kid

At the championship, held at a range 130 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, contestants fired 12-gauge shotguns at inverted orange saucers flying 42 miles per hour. The five-person squads that came closest to exploding 100 targets in 100 tries advanced to the state tournament.

Zac Olson, 15, used a SKB Century III 12-gauge as a member of the Lakeville South High School team, which he joined after an injury ended a budding gymnastics career. “All you need to do is practice,” he said, wearing the team’s black-and-khaki vest. “You don’t have to be super fast or super strong.”

His mother, Courtney Olson, went from being repulsed at the thought of guns in their house near Minneapolis to buying Zac the $1,400 shotgun and a $600 Glock 17 to nurture his newfound interest in becoming a police officer. “To see your kid this happy is incredible,” she said.

For the National Rifle Association, which lobbies against firearm restrictions, youngsters like him represent an important new constituency. “These kids are going to be future legislators, and they’re going to get in there and know the truth about weapons,” said Dennis Taylor, an NRA member and an operations manager at the Wisconsin Trapshooting Association.

The gun-rights debate, reignited by the June 17 shooting deaths of nine parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, isn’t what motivated Minneapolis advertising executive Jim Sable in 2001 to start what would would become the USA State High School Clay Target League. He said he belongs to the NRA, which doesn’t fund the league but donates to individual teams, just to get a discount on insurance for his gun collection.

The trap enthusiast feared the sport was dying. Clubs have youth programs, but Sable, 76, decided the growth potential was in competitive shooting as an extracurricular activity.

No Backlash

To wary educators, Sable stressed his motto -- “Safety, fun and marksmanship, in that order” -- and strict rules: no firearms allowed on campus. Team members must have state-issued safety certificates, which in Minnesota can be earned at age 11. The league record is clean, with no reported injuries.

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.

A nonprofit supported by fees, donations and sponsorships, the league marketed itself aggressively and developed proprietary score-tracking software. The sport took off.

This year, 9,245 schoolchildren in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota participated; trap’s so popular in Minnesota that the legislature appropriated $2 million for the expansion of gun ranges, where the kids compete. Next year, schools in Arizona, South Dakota, Illinois and Kansas will host teams. Middle-schoolers can also join high-school squads.

In June, Zac Olson and Andy Krebs of Lakeville South shot so well they advanced to the state tournament at the Minneapolis Gun Club. Their crew hit 464 targets out of a possible 500, claiming the first-place trophy as Minnesota champions.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-09/making-guns-cool-high-schools-embrace-shooting-as-hot-new-sport


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If this is accompanied by hunting culture and proper gun handling is taught by qualified teachers, then yes, I support this fully. I think my brother was 8 the first time he went skeet shooting. I DO believe that teaching hunting culture regarding guns (as opposed to self defense culture about guns) and proper gun handling goes a long way to decreasing the danger of guns.


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June 26, 2013: DOMA overturned. American married couples ALL have the same federal rights at last! We can be a family!

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trap shooting?

pfft - it's called skeet shooting here in Texas...

no other comment, save for 'I am happy that Minnesota is somehow sponsoring a competition, complete with safety officials'


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The Columbine shooters were taught how to use guns and hunt. Look at where that got Columbine. Just saying, today's times are not like they used to be. Less parental supervision, the TV is raising children more and educators have their hands tied.

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My school had a shooting range, still remember the kick from the .303.

No shotguns however.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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I went to High School in Irving Texas, We would have turkey day shoots. Walk into the ROTC building and they gave you a 22 rifle and you shot at targets, You had to hit so many bulls eyes target in order to win a turkey for Thanksgiving.

We also had a class called outdoor education in High School, They taught you how to hunt and fish. About once a month people would bring in what they killed, caught or trapped and we would have potluck dinner. It was pretty cool, It was my first time to try frog legs and eating fron a Dutch Oven, both were excellent and a good learning experience.

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My school had a shooting range, still remember the kick from the .303.

No shotguns however.

I've been at a school where one of my friends was shot and killed, luckily it wasn't a shooting rampage, however, it was damaging to a 12 year old to see her friend shot and killed.

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We did not have girls at my school. The first and last school disco saw one jump out of a window.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Why in the world do people think gun owners are losing their rights?

They have in the UK.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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The Columbine shooters were taught how to use guns and hunt. Look at where that got Columbine. Just saying, today's times are not like they used to be. Less parental supervision, the TV is raising children more and educators have their hands tied.

You are against teaching children how to handle a gun in a safe manner. WOW


If more citizens were armed, criminals would think twice about attacking them, Detroit Police Chief James Craig

Florida currently has more concealed-carry permit holders than any other state, with 1,269,021 issued as of May 14, 2014

The liberal elite ... know that the people simply cannot be trusted; that they are incapable of just and fair self-government; that left to their own devices, their society will be racist, sexist, homophobic, and inequitable -- and the liberal elite know how to fix things. They are going to help us live the good and just life, even if they have to lie to us and force us to do it. And they detest those who stand in their way."
- A Nation Of Cowards, by Jeffrey R. Snyder

Tavis Smiley: 'Black People Will Have Lost Ground in Every Single Economic Indicator' Under Obama

white-privilege.jpg?resize=318%2C318

Democrats>Socialists>Communists - Same goals, different speeds.

#DeplorableLivesMatter

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So they literally banned girls.

Never had them. Do girls schools ban boys, suppose so.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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The Columbine shooters were taught how to use guns and hunt. Look at where that got Columbine. Just saying, today's times are not like they used to be. Less parental supervision, the TV is raising children more and educators have their hands tied.

The Columbine shooters had a lot more going on than just having been taught how to use guns and hunt. A LOT more.

There was the culture of bullying that allowed them to end up 'outside' society. There was the lack of decent parental involvement. There was, I believe, an honest to god mental health problem that had gone un-remarked and un-dealt with for a long time. There were a lot of factors that made those two boys what they became. And no, I am not saying that what they did wasn't a terroristic act because they were 'mentally ill'. I'm saying that pointing at any one 'trigger' (heavy metal music was pointed at, at the time) isn't the way to deal with it or identify future shooters.

Terroristic acts are nearly always a matter of systemic failure and a failure of society to care.

I mean, ISIS has as many supporters in the middle east as it does largely because the precursors/early ISIS provided things like medical care and food to marginalized populations. If the US had been spending money to send aid workers and rebuild infrastructure rather than spending their time and money sending in soldiers and bombing infrastructure, ISIS would not have been able to get a foot hold, or at least not nearly as much of one.

If Dylann Roof hadn't lived in a society who saw his racist ramblings and manifestos as signs of 'southern pride', then he would not have been dealt with before shooting up a church.

I could go on down the list, but it's societal failings, not a matter of teaching a child to shoot, that create these monsters and, frankly, a child is much more likely to, either in childhood or adulthood, be shot with their own gun or the gun of a family member by accident than they ever are to be shot by someone else. Isn't that what so many of us that want gun control say? I want gun control, but I seem to want a different kind. I want to make sure that every gun owner gets a quality education from quality instructors on how to handle a gun before they are able to take one home. I think that would make much more of a difference in shooting deaths than anything else. It would also allow instructors to receive training to 'weed out' some of the dangerous ones.


Met in 2010 on a forum for a mutual interest. Became friends.
2011: Realized we needed to evaluate our status as friends when we realized we were talking about raising children together.

2011/2012: Decided we were a couple sometime in, but no possibility of being together due to being same sex couple.

June 26, 2013: DOMA overturned. American married couples ALL have the same federal rights at last! We can be a family!

June-September, 2013: Discussion about being together begins.

November 13, 2013: Meet in person to see if this could work. It's perfect. We plan to elope to Boston, MA.

March 13, 2014 Married!

May 9, 2014: Petition mailed to USCIS

May 12, 2014: NOA1.
October 27, 2014: NOA2. (5 months, 2 weeks, 1 day after NOA1)
October 31, 2014: USCIS ships file to NVC (five days after NOA2) Happy Halloween for us!

November 18, 2014: NVC receives our case (22 days after NOA2)

December 17, 2014: NVC generates case number (50 days after NOA2)

December 19, 2014: Receive AOS bill, DS-261. Submit DS-261 (52 days after NOA2)

December 20, 2014: Pay AOS Fee

January 7, 2015: Receive, pay IV Fee

January 10, 2015: Complete DS-260

January 11, 2015: Send AOS package and Civil Documents
March 23, 2015: Case Complete at NVC. (70 days from when they received docs to CC)

May 6, 2015: Interview at Montréal APPROVED!

May 11, 2015: Visa in hand! One year less one day from NOA1.

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