Hillsdale College Defends the Constitution and the Second Amendment

 

Hillsdale is a remarkable college in Michigan that was established in 1844. More of its students went to join up for the Civil War than any other western school. And it is known for offering a Classical education and teaching the Constitution. It also takes no money from the Federal government. And is highly celebrated for its requirements and high standards.

But much less well-known are their shooting range, shooting workshops for adults and students and now, programs for high school students. How did they pull this off in the state of Michigan?

It began when Reading High School approached Hillsdale College and requested that the college offer a safety and marksmanship training course to its high school students. Hillsdale thought it was a fine idea and was interested; the parents at the school worked through the district superintendent and eventually the program was approved, including a segment on the Constitution. The first year Hillsdale signed up four high schools; this past year they signed up 11 high schools and enrolled 159 high school students. They explained that they were focused primarily on gun safety and then marksmanship, with a component on the Constitution (and of course the Second Amendment).

This year Hillsdale College and USA Shooting National Team formed a partnership that will designate the College’s John Anthony Halter Shooting Sports Education Center’s world-class facilities as a Certified Eastern Regional Training and Competition Center for the USA Shooting National Team and sanctioned shooting sports development programs.

How has the high school shooting program expanded? Word-of-mouth. The parents hear about a program that’s provided to another school and approach their own school board. Although some boards have turned them down, many more have agreed with the benefits of the program and have set up partnerships with Hillsdale.

The national growth of the USA League program that Hillsdale is offering is heartening and impressive:

The organization’s priorities are safety, fun, and marksmanship – in that order. Each student is required to pass a comprehensive firearm safety education course prior to participation.

The League is the safest sport in high school, with not one reported injury since the inception of the League in 2001. To participate in the League, each team must have the approval of their school’s administration. The League is the only 100% school-approved clay target shooting sport program in America.

Nationwide, more than 32,000 students representing over 1,000 school-approved teams participated in the League during the 2018-19 school year.

Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

So, while the gun-control advocates cry out about the dangers of guns, some parents in Michigan are making sure their children are taught gun basics. Hillsdale is staying out of the political fray by not actively promoting their courses. But they are not afraid to support the Second Amendment and advocate for gun safety and marksmanship.

Kudos to Hillsdale College!

[Hillsdale students are shown in the video, but you can see the facility and the school’s approach to training.]

Published in Guns
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There are 15 comments.

  1. PHCheese Member

    A college I went to for two years before transferring had Rifle as a varsity sport. The shooting range was in the basement of one of the dorms. BTW it was coed with the women being great shots. Of course this was in the early sixties. It was in no way a controversy.

    • #1
    • October 6, 2019, at 8:49 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: More of its students went to join up for the Civil War than any other western school.

    Which side? JK!

    Thanks for the reminder I need to send them some $$$. It’s been a while . . .

    • #2
    • October 6, 2019, at 9:40 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    A college I went to for two years before transferring had Rifle as a varsity sport. The shooting range was in the basement of one of the dorms. BTW it was coed with the women being great shots. Of course this was in the early sixties. It was in no way a controversy.

    Have I told you that my husband and my weapon teacher both call me Annie Oakley?

    • #3
    • October 6, 2019, at 10:01 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Full Size Tabby Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    A college I went to for two years before transferring had Rifle as a varsity sport. The shooting range was in the basement of one of the dorms. BTW it was coed with the women being great shots. Of course this was in the early sixties. It was in no way a controversy.

    In several of his speeches, the late Justice Antonin Scalia mentioned being on the [Catholic] high school shooting team and taking his training rifle with him on the New York City subway to get to the school with the practice range. 

    • #4
    • October 6, 2019, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Full Size Tabby Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    A college I went to for two years before transferring had Rifle as a varsity sport. The shooting range was in the basement of one of the dorms. BTW it was coed with the women being great shots. Of course this was in the early sixties. It was in no way a controversy.

    Have I told you that my husband and my weapon teacher both call me Annie Oakley?

    Are you trying to scare us away from trying to assault you or trying to steal your pension checks? :-)

     

    • #5
    • October 6, 2019, at 11:28 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    Are you trying to scare us away from trying to assault you or trying to steal your pension checks? :-)

    Both! Except I have no pension checks! Just IRA disbursements. The threat is still there! ;-)

    I’d forgotten about Scalia and his shooting team. Just try to imagine his traveling with his rifle in NY today–not!

    • #6
    • October 6, 2019, at 11:38 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. DudleyDoright49 Coolidge

    Wonderful post! The association with USA Shooting is welcome news. I support both entities. 

     

    • #7
    • October 6, 2019, at 4:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Susan, you know I agree almost always with your opinions, but on this one I’m not so positive. Don’t most states have minimum age limits in order to buy a gun? Why would we want to teach high schoolers how to shoot when they can’t even legally buy a gun?

    • #8
    • October 6, 2019, at 6:47 PM PDT
    • Like
  9. jmelvin Member

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Susan, you know I agree almost always with your opinions, but on this one I’m not so positive. Don’t most states have minimum age limits in order to buy a gun? Why would we want to teach high schoolers how to shoot when they can’t even legally buy a gun?

    They have no need to buy their own gun as they would be supplied by their school team just the same as any other piece of sport equipment. Beyond that, even if it were illegal for them to purchase it (broadly until age 18), they can readily be under the supervision of an adult while using it and posssssing it. It’s really no different than a school cooking class that would use knives the students could not lawfully purchase or even possess either.

    • #9
    • October 7, 2019, at 3:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Pony Convertible Member

    Indiana University used to have 4 shooting ranges on campus. An indoor range, in the Union (22 caliber only), a trap and skeet range which threw over 400,000 clay birds a year, a police range where the local police practiced, and a local gun club which had been shooting safely, and teaching firearm safety and skills, on campus since the early 1950’s. All these ranges are now closed due to the school’s former president being an anti-gunner. He also banned all guns on campus. This ban only applies to students and employees, because the rest of us still have our rights protected by the State of Indiana, and we still carry on campus. 

    Hillsdale is a model for what higher learning should be. I only wish they would expand and admit more students.

    • #10
    • October 7, 2019, at 5:08 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Susan, you know I agree almost always with your opinions, but on this one I’m not so positive. Don’t most states have minimum age limits in order to buy a gun? Why would we want to teach high schoolers how to shoot when they can’t even legally buy a gun?

    @goldwaterwoman, first I would look at @jmelvin‘s astute comment above. I would add that enjoying shooting courses doesn’t necessarily lead to wanting to buy a gun; I have a hard time believing that if it’s illegal for a teen to purchase a gun, they’d try to buy one illegally. Also, USA Programs will not offer a course unless it has been approved by the school. I don’t think you need to be concerned.

    • #11
    • October 7, 2019, at 5:43 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Pony Convertible (View Comment):

    Indiana University used to have 4 shooting ranges on campus. An indoor range, in the Union (22 caliber only), a trap and skeet range which threw over 400,000 clay birds a year, a police range where the local police practiced, and a local gun club which had been shooting safely, and teaching firearm safety and skills, on campus since the early 1950’s. All these ranges are now closed due to the school’s former president being an anti-gunner. He also banned all guns on campus. This ban only applies to students and employees, because the rest of us still have our rights protected by the State of Indiana, and we still carry on campus.

    Hillsdale is a model for what higher learning should be. I only wish they would expand and admit more students.

    Hillsdale doesn’t make a big deal about it, but the range was not built in Hillsdale County. It wouldn’t have happened if they’d tried. I don’t know the details, but I expect it was political. Thanks for this information, @ponyconvertible!

    • #12
    • October 7, 2019, at 5:45 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Full Size Tabby Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Susan, you know I agree almost always with your opinions, but on this one I’m not so positive. Don’t most states have minimum age limits in order to buy a gun? Why would we want to teach high schoolers how to shoot when they can’t even legally buy a gun?

    @goldwaterwoman, first I would look at @jmelvin‘s astute comment above. I would add that enjoying shooting courses doesn’t necessarily lead to wanting to buy a gun; I have a hard time believing that if it’s illegal for a teen to purchase a gun, they’d try to buy one illegally. Also, USA Programs will not offer a course unless it has been approved by the school. I don’t think you need to be concerned.

    We often teach teenagers how to drive a car before they are old enough to buy a car on their own (in most states, a person has to be 18 years old to contract for something, such as buying a car). Families that own guns often teach their children how to use a gun long before they enter high school. We have seen many of the proposals to restrict gun ownership and possession are based on poor or no understanding of how guns operate, so spreading more information by people who actually know something may limit public infatuation with gun control proposals that have surface appeal, but in reality won’t do any good. 

    • #13
    • October 7, 2019, at 7:23 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    so spreading more information by people who actually know something may limit public infatuation with gun control proposals that have surface appeal, but in reality won’t do any good. 

    I so agree. We already know that if the current regulations were enforced, we’d be farther ahead. There are no perfect solutions to gun violence, but piling on more regulations that are impossible to enforce or will limit civil rights is not the answer. Thanks, @fullsizetabby.

    • #14
    • October 7, 2019, at 7:27 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I sent a link for this post to Brad Spieth, Director of the Center,and he helped me out by correcting and filling in a few points:

     

    Thanks, I read through that! A couple notes:The schools do not own the guns, but some of the club teams do.No guns are on school property.Families supply nearly all the shotguns for their own students. Many time Grandma or Grandpa, Aunt or Uncle help supply a shotgun for them.The fact that Families are directly involved is a great this! In Michigan, students can own firearms when gifted them, but cannot purchase. The Halter Shooting Sports Education Center is located in Hillsdale County, about 5 miles SW of the city limits. No political reason for that, is was just the property for sale at the time. [It isn’t located in the town of Hillsdale.] Thanks for helping to spread goodness! Our students learn fundamental safety and marksmanship, and that is a gift that will help them stay safe through life.

    • #15
    • October 7, 2019, at 8:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes