Students at a Smithfield, North Carolina, high school now have the opportunity to practice their shooting skills at the school’s brand new indoor shooting range.
The range is for members of the Smithfield-Selma High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, who were all involved in its five-month long construction. The $10,000, project was funded through the JROTC program and donations from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
The 1,200-square-foot range opened for use last week, but Commander David Wegman explained to WRAL that the range isn’t open for just any student.
Wegman said before cadets can use the range, they have to undergo marksmanship and safety training. After training comes a test and there is no room for error. Wegman said it’s pass or fail and students must get 100 percent on the test before they can use the range. Cadets must also sign a pledge of safety and get permission from their parents or guardians to use the facility. Additionally, students must demonstrate they know how to handle a firearm safely.
Cadets use Daisy pump air rifles for practice on the range. The rifles shoot pellets, as opposed to bullets, but school administrators point out they can still be dangerous if not handled safely and correctly. Wegman, however, notes that is where their training comes in, with safety always being the number one priority.
Currently, there are four JROTC members certified to use the new shooting range, but Wegman said he hopes to have all of the program’s seniors certified by fall.
A reader poll conducted by WRAL showed 40 percent of those who responded to the question “should a shooting range be allowed at a high school?” said yes, while 34 percent answered yes, but only for those trained to handle a gun, and the remaining 26 percent said no.