Anti-gun activists on the five-member school board in Sante Fe, New Mexico, have unanimously voted to stop accepting funding or equipment from the National Rifle Association for the school district’s ROTC program.
Referring to the NRA, whose membership includes millions of law-abiding gun owners, as “a horrible, horrible, blood-ridden vehicle,” school board President Steven Carilo said “we don’t want your money.”
The U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program is offered to high school students to teach leadership, good citizenship, and military skills, including marksmanship. There are more than 1,700 high school JROTC programs in the United States, supervised by retired officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The NRA Foundation backs these programs at schools by providing air guns, ammunition, targets, and financial support. According to the Associated Press, the NRA gave nearly $7 million to hundreds of schools between 2010 and 2016.
But according to the Santa Fe New Mexican, many testifying to the Santa Fe school board said that the NRA needed to be sent a “message” for opposing gun control legislation after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that claimed the lives of 17 people and another December shooting in Aztec, New Mexico, where two students and the shooter died. Last year, Santa Fe High School also received two shooting threats by students.
“We are the ones who are in the schools, we are the ones who are getting the backhand of it all,” said Capital High School senior Gabriella Rodriguez. “We’re scared to go to school. We have teachers who are scared to go to school.”
But who is receiving this “message?” Refusing NRA funding doesn’t hurt the NRA. It doesn’t make the school safer from shooting threats. It only hurts the Santa Fe High School JROTC program, which has received about $4,000 worth of equipment from the gun rights association. It also punishes the award-winning students who participate in that program, four of whom “earned top honors at the 2018 All-Service National Junior ROTC Championship, a marksmanship competition for high schoolers, beating out 25 other four-person teams from across the country” in March.
The Junior ROTC program produces some of the best and brightest young people in this country. Three of the students slain in the Parkland school shooting were JRTOC cadets. Alaina Petty, Peter Wang, and Martin Duque were each posthumously awarded the JROTC Medal of Heroism by the U.S. Army. Wang heroically died holding a door open for other students to escape from the shooter.
Why should the Santa Fe JROTC program lose NRA funding? Why should the NRA be targeted by the school board in the first place? The NRA’s opposition to unconstitutional and nonsensical gun control legislation that cannot prevent mass shootings does not make the NRA complicit in shootings. The maligning of the NRA and its millions of members by the anti-gun Left is outrageous.
This vote by the school board is strictly virtue-signaling. It does not make Santa Fe schools safer from school shootings. It only reinforces the point that anti-gun hysterics are not interested in finding real solutions, but they will punish innocent and law-abiding Americans who disagree with gun control.
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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