Money used to develop youth shooting programs for students as young as nine
In the midst of national gun violence debates following the shooting in Parkland, Fla., The Sacramento Bee recently revealed that the Regents of the University of California in Davis accepted $160,000 from the National Rifle Association between the years of 2010-2016. The funds were used to create shooting clubs for 4-H youth development programs.
The California 4-H youth development program, a part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, comprises centers across California dedicated to providing creative, hands-on learning experiences for children. According to the 4-H website, its centers aim to enrich students’ understanding and interests in fields like science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math as well as promoting healthy living.
Shooting clubs for students have been established at many of these centers across the state with the help of funds from the NRA. Students as young as nine are able to take part in 4-H shooting clubs.
Stephanie Beechem, a spokesperson for the UC Office of the President, discussed the specifics of the shooting clubs the UC ANR helped create.
“With the guidance, training and supervision from adult mentors, 4-H shooting sports promote the safe and ethical use of firearms and archery equipment,” Beechem said.
All 4-H instructors go through 12 hours of mandatory training of 4-H curriculum and are screened by the state. Specific training of adult mentors overseeing shooting clubs was not disclosed.
UC spokesperson Dianne Klein spoke to The Bee in response to backlash and widespread controversy regarding the UC’s ties to the NRA. Klein said the UC ANR will no longer apply for grants from the NRA.
Davis College Democrats member Maryann Mcnamara, a second-year international relations and history double major, offered her opinion on the university’s involvement in creating youth shooting clubs. Mcnamara discussed the UC’s involvement in funding other recreational clubs and how such clubs differ from shooting clubs.
“I don’t believe that guns and shooting clubs should be considered to be a leisure hobby,” Mcnamara said. “Guns are inherently violent, and the UC system should not be involved.”
When reached out to for comment, the Davis College Republicans responded that it had no comment on the topic.
Written by: Ally Russell — firstname.lastname@example.org