The anti-gun attitudes of many in the country are beginning to impact college shooting clubs, specifically, their funding, according to this story on Fox News.
Zoe Callaway, a shooter at the University of Delaware, told Fox that lately she and some of her classmates feel they are being targeted over their enthusiasm for firearms.
Callaway, who is president of the school’s Second Amendment club, said in the story that she first sensed the campus-wide opposition to her hobby when the group applied for an extracurricular grant for ammunition.
The students, who originally received support from the University, were initially denied, and then granted a $500 stipend after an appeal. They thought they were set and ready to go on shooting. However, the story says outraged students successfully pressed school officials to explicitly prohibit ammo funding going forward, the story says, so now it looks like the students are on their own.
“The majority of the student body does not support our group,” Callaway told Fox, adding that classmates perceive members of the club as “crazy gun kids” who intend to “shoot up the school.”
Of course, the purpose of the club, like nearly all shooting clubs, is to promote safe and responsible handling of firearms in a competition setting. In fact, shooting teams were once a staple of collegiate athletics departments and intramural sports, including pistol shooting and riflery.
From the story:
“Mass shootings and increasing politicization of the gun debate have left the activity marginalized, especially at eastern schools ‘staffed by liberals who have never touched a firearm in their lives,’ according to the Young America’s Foundation spokeswoman Emily Jashinsky.”
“(As gun issues) become a hotter topic and the more conservatives voice their opinions, the more liberals will try to stifle them,” Jashinsky said, adding that universities are “the most insulated bubbles of leftist thought.”
The story says members of student shooting teams may turn to off-campus sources for financial help. The NRA, which provides funding to nearly 70 universities, saw an 8 percent increase in requests between 2015 and 2016 for programs including shooting sports and clubs.
Additionally, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has provided about $1 million in funding to shooting teams to alleviate travel and ammunition costs, the story says.
The very participation of these groups has prompted criticism from students and faculty, who say groups that lobby against gun control should have no influence on campus.
In the story, a former shotgun club president, whose team was awarded $7,500 from the NSSF in 2009 and continues to receive financial support from the NRA, declined to be named out of fear his university would punish the group. He said the school isn’t fond of their team because of guns and that the school prohibits the group from spending school funds on ammo and refuses to provide the same scholarships allotted to other programs.
“It’s sad that we must worry about repercussions because of talking about our Second Amendment rights,” he told Fox.
The NSSF also provided $5,000 to Oklahoma State University’s shotgun club in 2012, without which the team’s practices and competitions would be prohibitively expensive.
“The health of these shooting programs is extremely important for the development of responsible firearms enthusiasts and competitors,” said Cody Sutton, the club’s president.
For the full story from Fox News, go here.