Gun manufacturers are sponsoring trap shooting events for children in hopes of making lifelong gun customers out of the youngsters.
Kids use heavy firepower, such as 12-gauge shotguns, in trap shooting, which is similar to skeet shooting (video below).
Bloomberg reports that a sales rep for the Browning Arms Company encouraged youngsters to try his company's firearms at the recent Minnesota State High School Clay Target League championship.
The shooting competition pulled only 30 competitors in 2009, but almost 4,000 students competed in 2014, noted AM 1240 WJON.
That number was up to 5,134 in June of this year. The sponsors at the event also included gun companies such as Benelli Armi SpA and SKB Shotguns.
Bloomberg notes, "Trap shooting is the fastest-growing sport in Minnesota high schools," and is spreading to other states in the north, as well as Arizona, Illinois and Kansas.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an average shooting competitor, age 16, will dole out $75,000 on the sport over their lifetime.
Gun companies are even building guns that are designed for young people.
Winchester Repeating Arms reportedly offers a lightweight SXP Trap gun for young folks at $480 a pop.
While the sport appeals strongly to boys, there are also many girls who enjoy shooting; parents just seem to be grateful that their offspring are happy.
Dennis Taylor, a member of the National Rifle Association part of the Wisconsin Trapshooting Association, said: "These kids are going to be future legislators, and they’re going to get in there and know the truth about weapons."
Many schools support the gun competitions, but don't allow the firearms on campuses. The kids have to use gun ranges, but there is shortage of those, so some gun clubs are getting taxpayer money.
MPRNews.com reports, "Last year the Minnesota Legislature set aside $2 million to help gun clubs expand. One of those grants went to the Proctor Gun Club, where Hermantown and three other teams compete."
While spending for gun clubs is up, the GOP-controlled State House in Minnesota passed a bill in April that would have cut $1 billion from the state's health and human services.
According to StarTribune.com, "The legislation’s most controversial provision is a proposal to eliminate MinnesotaCare, the state’s basic health care insurance plan for lower-income Minnesotans who don’t qualify for medical assistance or have access to coverage through their job, among other requirements."