Olympic women shooters speak on U.S. gun control

Virginia Thrasher of the United States celebrates winning a shootout to secure the gold medal in the Women's 10m Air Rifle event at Olympic Shooting Center at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Virginia Thrasher of the United States celebrates winning a shootout to secure the gold medal in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle event at Olympic Shooting Center at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The United States won its first Olympic Gold medal thanks to 19-year old Ginny Thrasher in her 10-meter air rifle event, but the sport has been sullied thanks to controversy over gun control. Despite her win and Olympic record, Thrasher is still sad about the controversy of her event, she reflected in her USA Today interview.

“Some of the (controversy surrounding) gun laws in America is just distracting from our sport, which is very different,” she said. Despite the frustration from many team members about the political discussion being part of the sport, Thrasher “just tried to focus on the competition.”

As Reuters reported:

Like all American shooters, Thrasher faced the inevitable question of what she thinks about gun control in the United States, a hot-button issue in this election year.

She responded matter of factly that the controversy over guns in America “really is just distracting from our sport, which is very different.”

Thrasher became interested in guns in a way many law-abiding citizens do. Her grandfather took her on her first hunting trip when she was in eighth grade.

Thrasher isn’t the only one to be disappointed. Six-time Olympian Kim Rhode is outspoken about the issue, particularly about how extensive background checks in order for her to buy ammunition for practice has affected her training, thanks to new gun measures in California.

“I’m definitely becoming more vocal because I see the need,” Rhode told The Guardian. “We just had six laws that were passed in California that will directly affect me. For example, one of them being an ammunition law. I shoot 500 to 1,000 rounds a day, having to do a background check every time I purchase ammo or when I bring ammo out for a competition or a match – those are very, very challenging for me.”

She is also a member of the NRA and spoke at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Thrasher is a rising sophomore at West Virginia University, where she will be returning to next week.


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