“I had a poor view, a more negative view of people who like guns than I do now,” said Hope Lutwak, a freshman on MIT’s pistol team. “I didn’t understand why people enjoyed it. I just thought it was very violent.”
When you think of the elite, well heeled youngsters who pack their bags each fall and head to the nation’s most prestigious universities, what sort of hobbies come to mind? Quidditch, natch. Competitive robot wars? Maybe. Or perhaps they’re too busy signing up for the campus women’s studies group to be bothered. But how about… guns? It turns out that shooting is more popular inside those ivy covered walls than you might have guessed.
In between completing problem sets, writing code, organizing hackathons, worrying about internships and building solar cars, a group of MIT students make their way to the athletic center, where they stand side-by-side, load their guns and fire away.
They are majoring in biological engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, aeronautics, mechanical engineering, computer science and nuclear science. Before arriving at MIT, nearly all of them had never touched a gun or even seen one that wasn’t on TV…
[Nick] McCoy is one of the brainiacs on MIT’s pistol and rifle teams, which, like other college shooting teams, have benefited from the largesse of gun industry money and become so popular that they often turn students away. Teams are thriving at a diverse range of schools: Yale, Harvard, the University of Maryland, George Mason University, and even smaller schools such as Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and Connors State College in Oklahoma.
“We literally have way more students interested than we can handle,” said Steve Goldstein, one of MIT’s pistol coaches.