Trap team members hit their targets both on and off the range. They crush flying clays from 25 yards away and ensure gun safety while still having fun. Recent success for the team at State last year and meets last spring has drawn attention from fans, as well as shone a light on an obstacle the shooters face. Marian, along with all other Nebraska high schools, has a “no guns on campus” protocol, which is intended to adhere to a statewide law and protect students from potentially dangerous situations, not make life more difficult for the trap team. At Marian, safety is a definite priority.
According to a Nebraska Revised Statute, all schools across the state must abide to certain firearm laws. One such law states, “Any person who possesses a firearm in a school, on school grounds, in a school-owned vehicle, or at a school-sponsored event is guilty of the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm at a school. Unlawful possession of a firearm at a school is a Class IV felony,”(Nebraska Revised Statute, Chapter 28 Section 1204.04). Thankfully, Marian is aware of this rule and has informed trap team members of it to avoid any arrests. Unfortunately, though, this law puts a burden on the shooters, as they need their guns after school for practice.
Without bringing guns on campus or creating an odd scene of transferring guns off campus, Marian girls have come up with a number of ways to adhere to the law. “Sometimes I will carpool with a friend and drop my gun off at her house the night before. That way, her parents can bring it with them when they drive us to practice,” freshman shooter Anna Feldman said. “Otherwise, I normally go home and get it, then go to practice.”
Along the same lines, one of the assistant coaches has offered to help chauffeur the guns for the girls. He keeps the guns during the day and returns them at practice.
While these methods seem to work, some students will ask, “Why not leave the guns at the trap range? Isn’t there a way to lock them up somehow and leave them there?” As great as the idea sounds, leaving guns at the trap range looks much better on paper than in action. Leaving the guns after practice is a liability to the trap range, and many ranges do not want the responsibility of watching over such significant investments. “Some students guns cost more than their cars,” Mrs. Sharon Genoways, Moderator of the trap team, said. “I have seen some shooters with $20,000-$25,000 guns; the price range can be anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000.”
Another factor that prevents students from leaving their guns locked up is that shooters need to rehearse muscle memory. “Besides practice, I do stationary drills at my house like gun mounts,” senior trap member Lily Foley said. “I put black dots on sticky notes and hang them on my wall to act as targets. Then, I put pieces of tape on my floor to Marian enforces its “no guns on campus” policy not simply to adhere to the law, but also to ensure the safety of its students. People with ill-intent may search out trap shooters with the hopes of finding a gun, but the Nebraska Revised Statute prevents them from finding anything on school campuses.
Trap team members fully understand the seriousness of safety. It is ingrained in their minds from the moment they first touch a gun at practice. “We go over safety regulations at the beginning of the season and periodically throughout [the rest of] the season,” Feldman said. “Our guns are always open and pointed in a safe direction until it is our turn to shoot, and we all are required to wear eye and ear protection on the line. The coaches want us to have fun, but safety is always the top priority.”
For Marian shooters, guns are tools, not weapons. All of the policies and laws regarding firearms are set in place not to inconvenience trap shooters per se, but to ensure safety. Under all circumstances, Marian holds safety as a definite priority.