HomeUSANearly 2,000 Teens With Shotguns Descend on New York Town

Nearly 2,000 Teens With Shotguns Descend on New York Town

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What happens when almost 2,000 teenagers show up to a quiet hamlet in New York with shotguns in tow? A good time is had by all. 

The  2024 New York State High School Clay Target League State Tournament took place at the Bridgeport Rod & Gun Club in Bridgeport, New York this past weekend, with thousands of teens participating from most parts of the state. The five boroughs were woefully underrepresented, thanks in large part to the anti-gun ideology that’s so entrenched in the Big Apple, but students from more than 130 high schools were on hand as the targets started flying.

With almost two thousand students, starting at twelve years old, there are important safety requirements and a deep respect for firearms amongst these shooters.

Maxwell Pullis is a student from Owen D. Young Central School District, Jordanville, New York, and he enjoys the responsibility the sport brings. 

“I think it is really important that students have the opportunity to be able to learn that responsibility, to be able to handle something that not everyone is familiar with.”

Payton Crandall, a junior at Pulaski Central School District, told local TV station WSTM that the event is something truly something special. 

It feels really good because there is a lot of bias and opinions around guns. For people to just see that thousands of kids can come together and do good things with it is really good.

Of course, part of the problem is that the folks who really need to see these images aren’t likely to find any news coverage of the tournament on their TV screens in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or the Bronx. Their only exposure to kids and firearms are stories like this that involve the criminal misuse of a firearm. 

The shotgun that was used in the death of 15-year-old Brooklyn boy Jasai Guy was illegally sawed off and not permitted with the NYPD, police said Tuesday.

The victim and his 12-year-old cousin were tinkering with the altered weapon in the older boy’s fifth-floor apartment in the Howard Houses on Osborn St. near Pitkin Ave. in Brownsville around 10:25 a.m. Sunday when it went off, according to cops.

The 12-year-old and his grandfather both dialed 911 after the shot and when cops arrived, officers with the NYPD’s housing bureau had already taken the boy into custody.

“At the scene, [the boy] stated to cops that he was trying to take the gun away from his cousin and it went off,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said during a Tuesday news briefing.

Medics rushed Jasai to Brookdale University Hospital, but he could not be saved.

In the apartment Jasai shared with his father, who works for the FDNY, and his grandfather, blood spattered a bedroom in the apartment, where a shotgun was left on a bed, police said.

After detectives checked with the NYPD licensing division, they discovered that there were no shotgun permits issued to any residents at the address or anyone involved in the shooting. It’s still not clear who owned the shotgun in the Sunday incident.

Kids are a lot less likely to fool around with a gun if they’ve received some actual training and education on firearm safety. Put two uneducated kids in a room with a shotgun and one of them is likely to end up shot. Put two thousand kids who’ve received the training we’re talking about on a firing line and they can safely and responsibly have a great time. 

The New York State High School Clay Target League has been growing by leaps and bounds since its inaugural season less than ten years ago, but so far the sport isn’t officially recognized by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association despite its inarguable success.

“When the League formed the New York program in 2016, there were just 128 students on five high school teams,” said John Nelson, President of the USA Clay Target League. “Here we are just eight years later and there are nearly 160 high school teams now with over 2800 student athletes. Schools love the program, parents love the program, and most importantly the students love shooting clay targets.”

The tournament in Bridgeport this weekend is the premier state high school trap shooting event of the year. Nearly 3,000 student athletes representing 159 high school teams across the state participated in NYSHSCTL events this spring.

And this is without any encouragement from the NYSPHSAA. The volunteers who’ve helped the New York State High School Clay Target League take root in many parts of the state have done an incredible job of introducing a new generation to the shooting sports, at great time and expense to themselves. 

For anti-gunners, “gun safety” means don’t own one, don’t touch one, and don’t learn anything about them. That abstinence-based approach is completely ineffective at keeping kids safe. 

The high school clay target leagues that have popped up across the country, on the other hand, offer kids lessons in real gun safety, and it’s one of the safest high school sports around. Thousands of teens in New York are already reaping the benefits of participating in the New York State High School Clay Target League, but there’s more work to be done to bring the sport to more high schools throughout the state… even in hostile territory like New York City.  

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