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Proposed bill puts trap league in jeopardy

SPRINGVILLE—A proposed bill is putting the second season of Springville-Griffith Institute’s trap club in jeopardy. The bill, introduced in April, proposes a ban to marksmanship programs in New York.

The proposed bill would prohibit “any competitive and recreational sports activities involving proficiency tests or accuracy, precision and speed in using various types of ranged weapons, such as firearms and air guns, in forms such as handguns, rifles and shotgun and/or bows or crossbows.”

The bill, A10428, was presented to the New York State Assembly Education Committee on April 20 by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal. The bill currently has no sponsors and is in assembly committee.

In Rosenthal’s justification for the bill, she cites a rise in gun violence and school shootings in recent years, saying it has sparked a reevaluation of whether marksmanship programs are needed in schools. Rosenthal used the school shooting at Parkland High School in Florida as an example, where a former student and marksmanship team member murdered 17 students in February.

“To create a true gun-free school zone we cannot allow students to possess and discharge firearms on school property,” she said.

S-GI introduced its trap league in a partnership with the Springville Field and Stream this year. The inaugural season wrapped up in April.

After a successful first year, those who helped get the club started have stated their displeasure toward the proposed bill and what it would take away from the students who just started enjoying the club.

“I can’t see what that has got to do with anything that is going on today,” Trap Director at Springville Field and Stream Gary Klahn said. “Most of the kids that are in these sports really enjoy it and it is being to become a really big following.”

Along with making sure the kids are having fun, the trap club prides itself on making sure everyone is shooting and handling the guns as safely as possible. Starting from the first day, students are taught the safety measures of handling a firearm. Students were required to take the New York State Hunter Education Safety Course in order to join the league.

“We had a firearm safety class at our first practice and that entire evening was strictly firearm safety,” Klahn said. “We went over firearm safety, different types of firearms … different kinds of shells and being careful not to get them mixed, where to point the guns, what could happen if you don’t, how to store them properly and what to do if they came across a gun somewhere and didn’t know what to do with it.”

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With around 24 students participating in the league in its first year, students at S-GI gave Klahn positive feedback, and even with the proposed bill putting next year in limbo, are looking forward to another season next year.

“I don’t know how many students I had come up to me and thank me when we were done … they are all looking forward to next year and we are looking forward to next year, provided that bill don’t pass,” Klahn said. “I had a lot of students who didn’t get involved in it that gave me all kinds of questions about it and when we were all done, said I wish I would have gotten into it.”

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