Olympic Shooters Stigmatized by Anti-Gun Left

“You don’t hear them asking Nascar drivers to comment on crimes involving cars.”

Kim Rhode is a 36-year-old five-time Olympic medal winner looking to win her sixth in Rio this summer. Yet, the Southern Californian has had enough of her sport being condemned as controversial. Rhode is a champion trap shooter.

She isn't praised by the Left for being a successful wife and mother or even that she has broken the wage gap in her family when she became the "primary breadwinner" thanks to her large contracts with outdoor industry giant Cabela and gun manufacturers Winchester and Beretta. Instead, she is hassled and ridiculed for shooting a shotgun.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

At the London Games, which started days after a mass shooting at a movie theater in Colorado, Rhode and other Team USA shooters received anonymous online death threats, requiring additional security.

“Our sport has an unfortunate stigma attached to it,” says Rhode, a 36-year-old Southern Californian. Following December’s deadly shooting rampage in nearby San Bernardino, the media sought out comment from Rhode, who expressed sorrow for the victims and support for gun rights. "Why should that crime have placed her in the spotlight?" she asks: “You don’t hear them asking Nascar drivers to comment on crimes involving cars.”

What most anti-gun folks don't know, and probably don't care to find out, is that Olympic shooters are responsible for earning the U.S. the most gold medals just under swimmers and track-and-field athletes. And as WSJ notes, "shooters rank sixth in the U.S. behind boxing, wrestling, diving, swimming and track and field."

But is that something to be proud of? Not if they achieved it with guns. From the report:

Compared with the three gold medals that USA Gymnastics won in London, that trio of shooting gold medals produced a feeble bang. In an age of random and deadly firearm sprees in the U.S., many Americans are reluctant to celebrate sporting triumphs achieved with a gun. Many also are blind to the discipline and skill required, as well as the joy that elite marksmanship can stir. On a recent flight, when Robert Mitchell identified himself as executive director of USA Shooting, the woman seated beside him said, “'So you teach people how to hold up 7-Elevens,’"he recalls, adding that the ensuing conversation left her with a newfound appreciation for the sport.

USA Shooting took over as the Olympic shooters' governing body in the 1990s from the National Rifle Association, but even that change didn't help ease the stigma. 

These specialized shooters also find it difficult to train in certain states because of gun control laws that restrict what kinds of weapons can be used. It's described as "a highly specialized 22-caliber Olympics sport pistol, making it impossible for competitors to train, let alone compete, in those states." Here's another example:

Nathalia Granados, a former Colombian shooter who last year became an American citizen, now lives with her husband in New York, where she can’t own the pistol she needs to compete in the 25-meter event. Little wonder that she has failed to make the U.S. Olympic team headed to Rio, she says. “If a tennis player doesn’t have their racket, it wouldn’t be the same as training with their racket,” she says.

Olympic shooters are often overlooked for the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. Currently, only one has been voted in: two-time gold medalist Lones Wigger. He says his place in the hall of fame is "a token thing" and there are other highly-qualified Olympians that deserve a place alongside him.

"But guns are political," he told the WSJ.

Would a female shooter be paid any respect by feminists for winning a silver medal shooting against men in 1976, eight years before there was a women-only category? Absolutely not! Margaret Murdock is that woman. Not only did she win second place in a sport that was at the time mostly male, she was a military sharpshooter. Here's what she had to say:

Shooting is controversial in the United States, because of liberals badmouthing it.

And the damage liberals have done can be seen in how sports agents shy away from sponsoring these shooters. The WSJ highlights one of them, Patrick Quinn, who admitted, "My personal views on guns skewed to the negative." It took someone from Nike to convince him to work with Kim Rhode. Once he did, his eyes were awakened to what every pro-Second Amendment person already knows:

Working with Kim and seeing what good people shooters are has made me look differently at the whole issue of guns.