I know it’s crazy but hear me out…

Lucas Latterell, Staff Writer

I’ve been shooting for most of my life. Whether it was pellet guns in the back yard with my dad as a kid, or shooting rifles and shotguns during my (albeit short) time in the Boy Scouts, for as long as I can remember I have always had a blast––pun intended––shooting. You can imagine my joy when last year I found out that BSM would be getting a Clay Target Team. And while I love almost every aspect of this amazing activity, I do take issue with one policy: the fact that we are not allowed to bring our firearms on school property, even in our cars, thus forcing trap team members to make a sometimes long, arduous journey home before going to practice.

I believe that instead of forcing students to keep firearms at home, state law should look at different options for more convenient gun storage, such as allowing students to keep firearms in their cars, or have options for secure storage on school grounds to be placed in the care of school officials, such as our new police liaison officer. Both options would ensure safe storage of firearms, while greatly increasing the convenience for trap team members.

The main reason that I believe this is such an issue is because many students at BSM live a fair distance away from school. It takes a long time to get home and then to practice, which really makes no sense. Imagine if all sports required you to go home to get equipment before practice; for most students, this would take over half an hour, for some, an hour plus.

Many people, especially parents, will take into question the matter of student safety with firearms on campus, which, as a student, is a very large concern for me as well. Some already question the ability of teenagers to be able to handle firearms. But their minds should be put at ease that although trap is the fastest growing high school sport in the state, with over 8,600 shooters, it hasn’t had a single reported injury or accident since its inception in 2010.

And then you have the whole issue of people concerned about on–campus violence. With terrible stories of mass shootings flooding the media and scaring the public into a frenzy to do what they believe is best to protect students, the fact is that shootings are incredibly uncommon, with the Educational Resources Information Center reporting that young people are 20 times more likely to die from a car accident, 11 times more likely to die from suicide, and 4 times more likely to die from cancer, than to die from ANY form of homicide.

Even if shootings were common, making the school a gun free zone wouldn’t help protect students in any way. Almost all major shootings occur in gun free zones, because people who are willing to break the laws against mass murder aren’t really concerned with breaking a law on a sign. And while I do agree that there are some sensible steps that a school can take to prevent violence on campus, a gun free zone is not one.

I think that we can change the current policy in the ways mentioned above to increase convenience for students, while not compromising the school’s safety. Now many will argue that restrictions on firearms are put in place to protect students, and while I appreciate the concern for my safety, they are not effective at accomplishing what they aim to do.

I personally believe that sensible changes to the weapons policy regarding shotguns for the Clay Target Team will help BSM students continue to live the priorities of Minnesota clay target shooting as expressed in the words of Jim Sable, who started the program in 2010 : “Safety, fun, and marksmanship, in that order.”