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Clarence school officials consider getting rid of rifle team's guns

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) - After state high school athletic officials made changes to the rules of rifle competitions, local high schools are trying to figure out what to do with guns previously used by their teams.

Now, rifle teams in New York only compete in air rifle events, instead of using actual rifles.

In Clarence, team members are concerned over what will happen to about 40 guns they used to compete with.

“If we’re not going to use the rifles, there’s no reason to have them there. They’re just taking up space,” said Matt Kirk, a senior on the team. “But I feel like there’s a lot of places that can use them.”

Matt and his sister Alexis have been shooting since they were five years old. They’re pretty successful too. Alexis is a state champion. Matt just got back from the national championships. Both are on Clarence’s rifle team, and are concerned about one potential outcome.

They’re asking school officials not to turn the guns in to be destroyed.

“There’s a lot of different options that the school has, other than destroying them, that could put those rifles into the hands of up-and-coming shooters,” Matt said.

“To just think that they could take the 22s and melt them down without anyone knowing is really horrifying,” Alexis added. “It’s a huge waste.”

Officials in the school district say they haven’t made any final decisions, but admit all options are being explored.

Geoffrey Hicks declined to be interviewed on camera, but did answer a few questions on the topic. He adamantly said consideration over what to do with the guns has nothing to do with safety concerns at schools nationwide.

With the option to destroy the guns still on the table, the Kirks have the support of their father as they try convincing Hicks to go another route.

“Destroying the rifles is really self-destructive,” Steve Kirk said. “Using them in a controlled environment in a club or selling them using the proceeds to buy more equipment, that makes a lot more sense.”

Paul Borkowski is the chairman for high school rifle competitions in Section VI. He said other school districts have been considering what to do with their rifles as well.

According to Borkowski, Iroquois sent them off to be auctioned, while Alden plans to sell them.

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