The triple gold medallist says new laws passed in her home state of California make it more difficult for her to practise.
America’s top Olympic shooter, Kim Rhode, took a strong stand against gun-control laws, offering full support for carrying concealed weapons and attacking anti-gun legislation in her home state of California.
“I’m definitely becoming more vocal because I see the need,” said Rhode, a skeet shooter going for a medal in her sixth-straight Olympics. “We just had six laws that were passed in California that will directly affect me. For example, one of them being an ammunition law. I shoot 500–10,000 rounds a day, having to do a background check every time I purchase ammo or when I bring ammo out for a competition or a match – those are very, very challenging for me.”
Her comments come as gun control has become a central issue in the US 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton is running for the White House vowing to tighten gun laws and challenge the might of the National Rifle Association, which has fought reforms and given Donald Trump its endorsement.
Rhode said she hoped to be able to pass her rifles down to her now three-year-old son, who, she plans to teach how to use a gun as soon as he is at “an appropriate age.” She said new laws in California to curtail the flow of guns will actually prevent her from inheriting her own father’s guns or maybe even give hers to her children.
“If you are doing boy scouts and you are trying to teach them gun safety, how do you teach safety and teach responsibility?” she said. “That’s something we are facing now in the state of California.”
When asked about the mass killings such as those in Newtown, Connecticut, andSan Bernardino, not far from her childhood home of Whittier, California, she expressed sadness over the deaths but added that many of the recent mass shootings have occurred in cities where anti-gun legislation is already on the books. She suggested that those shootings are examples of why gun control doesn’t work.
“When you look at these events that have been occurring, they’ve been occurring in some of the strictest gun law countries in the world,” she said. “You have Paris, you have San Bernardino, which was actually in a gun free zone, so yeah it’s actually something that you take into consideration.
“For me personally, I realize the first responsibility of a police officer is to respond to an incident and for me personally, in that five minutes or 10 minutes or 20 minutes in some cases that it takes for them to get there, how do you want to stand there? I would rather have my second amendment right.”
Rhode, who has won three Olympic gold medals, the last of which came in the 2012 London Games, believes her sport has been “stigmatized” in recent years. She lamented the loss of the world of her parents, where children read “dime novels” about Teddy Roosevelt and Annie Oakley and guns were celebrated as a part of culture.
She expected her press conferences to be more about gun control than her performance and spends time studying proposed anti-gun laws before big shooting events.
She added that the stigma that has been attached to shooting has affected her ability to get endorsements, saying that at least one large company refused to sponsor her.
She also wondered why comparable Olympic stars are not put under the same scrutiny as shooters. For instance, she said, why are swimmers not interrogated in interviews after a publicized drowning accident?
“Here’s a little bit of information for you. I actually learned to shoot on a semi automatic it was a 20-gauge semiautomatic shotgun and thats what most people learn to shoot on,” she said. “It kicks less, it has less recoil.”
“Some of these laws they are starting to pass now, for instance, in the state of California – if I were to purchase a gun, I cannot loan that gun to someone who is not a blood relative so that means that I can’t loan it to my husband or I can’t loan it to an adopted child.”
“Even though we’re married and we’re all family, they’re not considered a blood relative.”