Several local school districts and the University of California system received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association between 2010 and 2016.
The money, in the form of grants from the NRA Foundation, thrusts what were once largely non-controversial gun- and hunting-safety programs and extracurricular shooting clubs into a bitter national debate about accepting money from the polarizing firearms advocacy group.
The NRA gave about $1 million in cash and non-cash grants to school organizations and private shooting clubs in the Sacramento region between 2010 and 2016, according to a Sacramento Bee review of data obtained by The Associated Press.
About half of that money — $500,000 — went to local public schools, all of them in Placer County, or to a UC address in Davis.
The district told The Associated Press that much of the funding went toward ammunition and gear for trap-shooting teams. Ron Severson, superintendent of the Roseville district, told the AP that no parents have raised concerns over the funding, but administrators may reconsider it in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., shooting.
“After we get through this spring, we will probably take some time to assess how to move forward,” he told the AP.
One of the district’s programs that received NRA grants was Woodcreek High School Sportsmens Club, which received about $124,000 in cash and non-cash grants.
Its coach, Alex Gray, told The Bee that each year, about 50 students — a third of them girls — participate in competitive shotgun shooting sports programs at a Lincoln-area target-shooting range.
The club is among dozens of school-affiliated programs that participate in the California Youth Shooting Sports Association, which hosts shooting competitions, including in the Olympic sports of skeet and trap.
The NRA is one of the association’s primary sponsors.