Kim Rhode, a six-time Olympic medalist in the shotgun sports, grew up competing, and even lettered four years on her California high school’s shooting team. Kim, along with her dad and coach, Richard Rhode, are some of the best go-to folks in the shooting world to talk about the importance of training kids to shoot and learn about the Second Amendment. On the day of this interview, they were going home after a day of training.
Kim has worked with several youth organizations, including Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP), 4-H and High School Clay Target Leagues. She also serves as the Chairman of the International Shooting Sports Federation’s (ISSF) Athletes Committee, which represents competitive shooters around the world. She is also on the board of the NRA and has been active in President Donald J. Trump’s campaigns.
“After London, at the Olympics,” she said, “I’d just won an Olympic medal, and the first question I got asked by the press was to comment on Aurora (Colorado school shooting). It was at that moment I realized we have a tough road ahead of us, and we need to speak out and become more political, because if we didn’t … this is what the future held for us.”
Throughout the years, Kim has been heartened to see many in the outdoor industry speaking out for the shooting sports. “Reaching out to youth and to women has been a huge thing in our industry, and has grown so that we now have companies geared toward women and children. I see the transition that it’s made in educating people, especially women, because then, you grab the whole family and introduce them to the outdoors. These families, even if they’ve gone out and shot just one time, they will remember that when they go out to vote.”
Kim believes that one of the biggest issues that the shooting sports faces is the lack of knowledge. “The left will prey upon people’s lack of knowledge about guns and ammunition and what we do,” she said. “We need to be more vocal and to educate more people, and to help the young shooters coming up so that we ensure that the sport will be around for generations.”
Kim and her dad are optimistic to see the increase in the number of youth shooting competitively. “It’s unbelievable to look at the hundreds of thousands of kids competing in the clay target programs,” said Richard.
“I look at high-school clay-target leagues and SCTP, where kids are shooting and learning teamwork, education, safety and responsibilities,” said Kim, “but at the same time, they’re learning about their Second Amendment rights. It is making a difference.… Those kids will remember learning the sport when it comes time to vote. It may not be this generation, but the third generation from now, where we impact it and people will be more educated about bills and propositions that people are being asked to vote on.”
Throughout her successful career, Kim has competed around the world and pointed out how traveling educates young shooters, too. “Competitions also educate you on how fortunate you are to have the rights that we do in the United States, especially when you’re going to other countries, such as China, where you’re not allowed to own a firearm unless you’re in the military or a police officer.”
As native Californians who don’t want to throw in the towel and move elsewhere, the Rhode family is going to stay and fight. “The U.S. was founded on the history of the Second Amendment rights. They go generational. I have guns from my grandfather that were his grandfather’s,” said Kim.