NASHUA, N.H. — A gun brought to April's Nashua school board meeting made a few people uncomfortable as members considered a proposal for a marksmanship range behind Nashua North High School.
But Major Brian Newton pointed out that the weapon used to train his junior ROTC students is an air rifle that shoots pellets.
"This is one of our drill rifles," he said in the meeting. "It's inert. This should be no different than any other sport that Nashua students are engaged in such as football, baseball, lacrosse."
That line of argument is a hard sell for some on the board.
"I believe that our schools should be gun-free zones and that the only people with weapons on school grounds should be law enforcement personnel," board member Susan Porter said.
The proposal wound up passing.
"This has been the most controversial issue on the campus in the eight years that I've been on," board member Elizabeth Van Twuyver said.
And it is not necessarily the end of the story, with some parents expressing outrage on social media over the planned range.
The local Horse Pond Rod and Gun Club is holding out an offer, to study hosting the ROTC students in its basement range -- if, for some reason, the school board's decision changes.
Van Twuyver hopes it won't. She understands the fear here but says it's illogical.
"You know a gun is an inanimate object and it takes a person behind it to do either good with it or bad with it," she said.
The junior ROTC program has enrolled 94 students. The hope is that the marksmanship program will bring in a few more.
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