In the seventh grade, Taylor Christian competed in her first Junior Olympics shooting championships.
While there, Christian remembers walking by a table sponsored by the National Rifle Association. What caught her attention was a pamphlet promoting an NRA education summit.
The NRA Youth Education Summit is a seven-day, all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., held every summer for outstanding high school juniors and seniors.
“So, I held on to the pamphlet and waited to apply,” said Christian, who is finishing her sophomore year at Spokane Valley Tech STEM Academy.
When the deadline approached in early January, Christian, 16, mailed off her application package that included an essay about gun control and government.
It’s believed thousands of teenagers apply for the summit every year. The NRA has offered the educational experience each year since 1996.
The NRA decided to offer two summits of about 45 students each this summer. Still, Christian had no idea her chances. She will attend the second summit, July 23-29.
On the website promoting the summit, the NRA says it endeavors to bring “some of America’s most bright, ambitious, and patriotic youth to our nation’s capital each summer for a week of fun they’ll never forget.”
The students will meet political leaders, visit historical monuments, tour the National Archives and Arlington Cemetery, make speeches and engage in competitive debates involving the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution.
“I’m very excited to be able to go with a group of people I’m not familiar with – a group of people interested in the same things as me and looking to grow,” said Christian, who has a 4.0 grade-point average.
It will be Christian’s first trip to the District of Columbia. The summer after eighth grade she had an opportunity to visit the nation’s capital with her peers but declined because it was largely just a tourist visit. She waited for this opportunity.
Christian will also visit the NRA headquarters and shooting range.
She has competed in numerous NRA-sponsored marksmanship events since taking up shooting when she was nine.
In her essay, Christian plainly states that she supports the Second Amendment and understands there should be gun control.
She understands that gun control has been and will likely forever be a hot-button issue.
“It’s a lack of rationale conversation, because everyone has such strong opinions,” she said. “People aren’t open to accepting the other side of the debate.”
She wrote in her essay, “Gun control should not be restrictive to the law abiding Americans but should prevent the ineligible from bearing arms.”
She’s quick to say that guns don’t kill people; people kill people.
Christian concluded her essay by writing, “the overall benefit for arming citizens greatly outweighs the results of control. Between self-defense and protecting others, the United States would become a haven for violence if the people become unarmed.”
She looks forward to being able to vote. She turns 18 in November 2019.
A member of the Spokane Rifle Club, Christian completes her sixth season of competitive shooting in late June at a Junior Olympic nationals meet at Camp Perry near Port Clinton, Ohio.
After high school, it’s her hope to attend college, study pre-med and go on to attend medical school.
If the college she decides to attend offers rifle shooting, she would like to continue shooting competitively.
“I’ll definitely keep shooting whether it’s competitive or not,” she said.
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