Bill targets school riflery teams, citing 'gun culture'

South Medford High School's Cole Costanti, shown here practicing at the Medford Rifle & Pistol Club, is among those trying to persuade the Medford School District to allow them to form a shooting team. [Mail Tribune / File Photo]

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A New York lawmaker is taking aim at riflery and archery programs in schools, contending they promote a "gun culture."

Manhattan Democrat Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal says she introduced her bill to ban such programs in the state after it was revealed that the Parkland, Florida, school shooting suspect had honed his shooting skills in a marksmanship program at the very school where he's accused of killing 17 people.

Backers of such programs say they foster concentration, patience and self-discipline, attributes that carry over to the classroom.

There are an estimated 5,000 gun clubs at high schools and universities around the country. Last year New York state had 28 high school air riflery teams that fire pellets, with 266 participants.

AP-WF-05-10-18 1454GMT

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