The JROTC built a 1,200-square-foot, six-lane, indoor shooting range at the Smithfield-Selma High School and students began using the facility last week. The $10,000 in costs for the range was donated by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Although cadets will be shooting with Daisy pump air rifles, they still need to go through extensive firearms training before being allowed in the gun range.
“There’s a marksmanship safety test they have to take, and they have to get a 100 on it,” Commander David Wegman said. “In addition to that, they have to sign a safety pledge, get permission from home and then finally demonstrate on the range that they know how to handle one of these air rifles safely.”
Only four JROTC students are certified to use Smithfield-Selma High’s shooting range, but Wegman said he hopes to have all of the seniors in the program certified by the fall.
Despite the national debate about gun violence and school shootings, Wegman said the shooting range poses no threat.
“The procedures that we have in place ensure that we do the same thing, the same way, every single time,” he said.
JROTC cadet Timothy Jones agreed that safety is a priority on the range.
“You go out there, and you’re relying on others. You have to have the trust in others that they are handling a weapon, that they are not going to harm you, and you’re not going to harm them,” Jones said.