Friday, April 16, 2021

Adolescent shooter fights firearm stigma

From Robin Hood’s time of archery competitions to modern gun competitions, shooting fans are fond of their sport. Recently, 10-year-old Shyanne Roberts has taken a liking to the sport of competitive shooting and wants to become an inspiration to other kids everywhere. She is trying to prove that kids with guns do not mean catastrophe. Well, not always anyway.

Not only may this raise red flags for some people, but it may bring the whole gun control debate back to action. That’s one debate that will never have an agreeable outcome. Besides, why shouldn’t 10-year-old girls know how to use a gun?

According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the competitions consist of the use of three different firearms: a modern sporting rifle (MSR) built on an AR-platform, a pistol and a shotgun. The shooter has to move through different stages and change positions or firearms depending on the target. Some of the targets may include clay pigeons, cardboard silhouettes, different-sized steel targets and anything else the match organizer decides to make a target.

Shooting is a competitive sport, and like many others, individuals who partake have their reasons for doing so. Competitive shooter Sydney Goldshlag said that shooting relaxes her. When she’s in her zone, she’s able to clear her mind and only focus on the target. Her feelings are the equivalent to a basketball player shooting some free throws, a track star running some laps or a baseball player in the batting cages.

Roberts dreams of winning a national title. Her father feels that as long as she is having fun at what she is doing, she will continue competing because it is time-consuming having to practice using three firearms each day and attending school. When the fun stops, that is when they will stop.

Because Roberts has learned to use guns at an early age and did so in a safe environment with all the rules and regulations in mind, her parents and others trust her with a gun in her hands. There are many out there who would disagree with that logic. However, Roberts’ father feels peace knowing that his daughter can protect herself because she has the knowledge of how to use firearms, and she’s good at using them too.

Gun control may not even be an issue here. The 10-year-old Roberts is doing what she loves and is being taught the right way. She also loves to play soccer and hang out with her friends, so it’s not as if the competitions, or even guns, are consuming her life. They just play a big part.

Email Jennifer Greenberg at

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