Jonathon Eisenga–Guest Writer
“Hey Mom, can I bring my gun to school?” This is a question seems to have an obvious anser, but for Dordt College, it has become a legitimate scenario. The number of guns on campus has increased over the last two years, but not for the sake of hunting off-campus or causing harm. The rise is due to the introduction of the Dordt College Trap Shooting club.
The trap shooting team is perhaps one of the youngest clubs on campus, gaining official club status last year, but is quickly growing in membership and popularity. Between twenty-five and thirty members show up regularly to the weekly meetings, and many have joined a competitive league within the club.
Dordt is probably one of the few places that would even consider sanctioning an activity that permits guns on and around campus. This is due partly to the area’s primarily pro-gun community. However, the past few years have seen a national increase in the number of gun-related crimes, and many believe that allowing guns only puts the students at risks, especially if they are stored directly on campus. They wonder if the threat of violence will become a “not if, but when” situation.
Dordt recognizes those concerns and has put practices in place to make the campus as safe as possible. Students must check out out their firearms before they go shooting and return them the next morning.
“I don’t see any harm in storing them on campus,” said senior Tyler Postman, a member of the club. “All of them are locked in a safe and are monitored by the staff.”
In addition to monitoring the guns, every member is required to provide some form of firearm safety training documentation before they are even allowed to join. If someone is new to the sport, the club even offers training at the meetings.
As with any club, its popularity also stems from fellowship. Members often invite friends to join them, as long as they have also been certified in gun safety.
“The best part of the club is the social aspect,” said senior and club member Katie Jo. “An experience like this is something you can’t get anywhere else. It’s just another thing that makes Dordt unique.”
The club also offers a break from school work.
“This is a great stress relief for me,” Postman said. “It’s somewhere that is off campus and a place where I can just hang with friends. Plus, it’s not overly competitive, so it is really relaxing.”
Although Dordt has done well in promoting and ensuring safety, there are still concerns for the future.
“One thing they need to be careful of is the “if they can, why can’t I” mindset,” says Emi Stewart, a junior at Dordt. “If they allow guns for the club people might want to start bringing their own. College campuses have a history of being strict on weapons, but this could open the door for concealed carry debates and other non-club weapons.”