A Firearm or a Piece of Equipment?

Bryan Neels, Writer

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It all started with one photo. The Big Lake, MN trap shooting team had their guns in the school’s Yearbook. This started a backlash between the school and the trap shooters on the team. With this controversy being in the news, it has made its way to Barnesville High. It is up to the school board to decide whether it is okay for the trap shooting team to have their guns in the pictures that are put into the Yearbook.

Last year there were eighteen students on the Barnesville trapshooting team. They took their team photo as a group in their trap shooting vests with their guns nowhere to be seen; however, directly underneath the team photo lies three “action” photos where the trap shooters are either posing with or aiming their guns. Superintendent Scott Loeslie stated, “The photos that were taken last year slipped through any filters that could have been put into place. What is done is done, and it will be brought up at the school board meeting.” No one knows how this meeting will go. This area between guns and school is hard to regulate what is okay and what is not okay. The most occurring issue has been when senior students who enjoy hunting want to pose with their gun and hunting dog. Loeslie also commented on this by saying, “We know the photo is in good taste, but it is safer for the school to not permit these photos.”

 The best argument to allowing guns in Yearbook photos would have to be the 2nd Amendment. As Americans we have the “Right to Bear Arms,” but unfortunately, events like Sandy Hook and San Bernardino have pushed schools to stay away from guns in any way, shape, or form. It is easier for the school and its board to stay neutral on any issues that can become political, like this one has. The most contributing factor to the vote has to be the environment. Barnesville is known as a hunting community, and many students and staff members at Barnesville High School hunt. Yearbook adviser Matt Askegaard voiced his opinion by saying, “I think it is fine for trap shooting to use pictures with guns as long as it is necessary and in good taste.” This would correlate to action shots that are put in the Yearbook. Junior Logan Bang stated, “I think they should allow having our guns in our photo because it is our most important piece of equipment to our sport”. This argument shows how vital the gun is to his sport.

Students in trap shooting have to have their firearm safety license to be able to compete in trap shooting. They are instructed to only use their guns as equipment and that they are to be unloaded with an open action when not in use. The Minnesota State Clay Target League has many rules to ensure the safety of their marksmen. Trap shooting is also one on a short list of sports to be co-ed, allowing boys and girls to all shoot together. The school board is trying to meet very soon to discuss this matter. Time will tell the fate of the trap shooting team’s opportunity to have their guns in their photos.

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