UTICA- Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan has introduced legislation that would eliminate riflelry and archery programs at schools across the state and many people across the state are hoping that legislation doesn't get any legs to even come up for a vote.
Rosenthal introduced the bill in part because Parkland Florida school shooting suspect Nicolas Cruz had honed his shooting skills at a marksmanship program at the very school where he is accused of killing 17 people.
South Lewis Central School up in Turin in Lewis County has a long rich history with both sports. South Lewis Central School Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics C. Brian Oaks says it would be a shame if this legislation passes, "We have a rifle team that shoots air rifle at the varsity level, we also have a very intense archery program that goes from elementary to high school here in South Lewis and we are very proud of the fact that we teach them marksmanship and more importantly we teach safety and proper use of firearms and bows."
Charles Ellsworth is not only the President of the Deerfield Fish & Game Club, he also teaches kids riflery and archery and has done so for decades.
Ellsworth says he was shocked when he heard about Rosenthal's proposed legislation on Thursday, "I can't say what went through my mind because you just don't hear those kind of words. But yes I was very unhappy to hear this. Every club, every organization that I am personally associated with recognizes this as a good healthy introduction to archery hunt hunting and other fields."
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica, also a democrat, is also against the rifelry/archery legislation and released the following statement to News Channel 2 on Friday, "While violence in schools is something that simply must be addressed, I do not believe that banning supervised shooting and archery teams in public schools is the proper way to do it, so I am opposed to this legislation. Given the proper supervision, I believe students can learn a great deal participating in these sports, just as they would with other extra-curricular activities. Banning school archery and shooting teams is certainly not likely to cut down on school violence, and it means there will be fewer opportunities for students to learn about sportsmanship, and working together with others."
The bill, so far, has only been introduced.
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