Recreational Shooting Appreciation Programs in Schools

Summary

Similar to hunting, a lack of access is cited as one of the primary barriers to participation in the shooting sports. School-based programs offer opportunities to participate in shooting activities at a young age which is essential in maintaining and increasing the number of hunters and recreational shooters across the United States.

Introduction

Trap, skeet, sporting clays, and other shooting programs provide a number of benefits for youth when incorporated into school programs. These programs provide physical activity, teach discipline and responsibility, educate students on recreational shooting and hunting, encourage the safe handling of firearms, and serve as a primer for real-life hunting scenarios.

Research by the National Shooting Sports Foundation indicates that youth who are introduced to the sport of recreational shooting at a younger age are more likely to continue shooting into adulthood. Thus, early exposure and participating is essential to maintaining and further increasing the number of hunters and shooters in the United States. As with hunting, lack of access is cited as one of the primary barriers to participation in the sport. School-based programs offer youth an opportunity to participate in a safe and regulated environment, which results in more active participation into adulthood.

Exposure to, and participation in, recreational shooting and hunting at a young age is essential in maintaining and further increasing the number of hunters and shooters in the United States. In the spring of 2016, approximately 16.61 million U.S. residents participated in hunting, representing over 5% of the total U.S. population. In 2014 a resounding 51.2 million people (roughly 15% of the total U.S. population) participated in target or sport shooting of some kind.[4] Given that both hunters and shooters contribute to conservation funding through the purchase of firearms and ammunition, increasing the shooting population will serve to provide additional funding for fish and wildlife agencies throughout the nation.

Points of Interest

  • Via the National Rifle Association Collegiate Shooting Programs, various shooting programs are offered in schools including: SB Rifle, Air Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun, Skeet, Trap, ROTC, NCAA, Varsity, Club Sport, Outdoor Range, and Indoor Range.
  • Nearly every state (and Washington, DC) has shooting programs in at least one of their schools.
  • Pennsylvania leads the nation with 12 of their colleges/universities having some form of a shooting program.
  • The USA Clay Target League provided over 32,000 boys and girls of  high school age the opportunity in trap and skeet in a supportive environment during the 2018-2019 academic year.
  • According to Southwick Associates, nearly 80% of all firearms sales revenue is assigned to non-hunting purposes. Increases in recreational shooting participation will help to ensure that state fish and wildlife management agencies are adequately funded through the American System of Conservation Funding.

Language

  • In 2012, Missouri passed a concurrent resolution (HCR 43), encouraging every school district in Missouri to promote and include trap shooting as a high school sport.
  • Indiana HCR 57  and South Carolina SB 784 were both passed in 2013, recognizing the success of respective shooting sports teams.
  • In 2014, Kentucky passed HCR 11, encouraging the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, local school districts, and schools to voluntarily promote trapshooting as a high school sport.
  • South Carolina Honorary Resolution 5264 was adopted in 2015, recognizing and honoring the W. Wyman King Academy Girls Sporting Clays team, coach and school officials for an outstanding season.
  • In 2017, North Dakota passed HB 1419 establishing an appropriation for a shooting sports grant program which may be used to provide grants to promote and facilitate shooting sports in schools, clubs, and organized youth groups in the state.

Moving Forward

In consideration of the individual, economic, and conservation benefits of supervised shooting sports programs, legislators should explore and pursue legislative opportunities to make these programs more available in schools.

Contact

For more information regarding this issue, please contact Ellary TuckerWilliams (202)573-6079; etuckerwilliams@congressionalsportsmen.org

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