There are only four Olympic sports (not counting sports that are scheduled to debut or re-debut at the Olympics after 2018 or sports that have been discontinued from the Olympics) where the United States has never won a medal of any color. Three of them are Summer Olympic sports: badminton, table tennis, and team handball. The other is a Winter Olympic sport, biathlon, which is a sport combining cross-country skiing and multiple sessions of shooting at a set of five circular targets with a .22 caliber rifle.
While American biathletes haven’t achieved Olympic success (despite the fact that biathlon in its modern incarnation debuted at a Winter Olympics hosted in the United States, at the 1960 Winter Olympics in California), in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sherman Douglas High School in Florida, multiple members of the U.S. biathlon team that is competing/has competed at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have publicly spoken out in favor of gun control and in opposition to large-scale proliferation of firearms in American society.
Lowell Bailey is one of the more outspoken American biathletes when it comes to gun control, saying that he has “no interest” in owning an assault rifle, publicly supporting assault weapons bans, and noting that countries like Germany and Norway have stricter gun laws than the United States and are also more successful than the United States in biathlon. Susan Dunklee, who is the first American to have ever earned a medal in a biathlon world championship as an individual, has publicly stated that gun violence in America “really takes a lot of the joy I have out of pursuing a sport like this”. Tim Burke, an American biathlete and an avid hunter, has said that he’d lock up his sports and hunting rifles if “it meant saving one life”. Clare Egan, also an American biathlete, has publicly supported her teammates’ vocal support for tougher gun control laws in the United States.
I fully support the use of firearms by law-abiding American citizens for productive civilian use, such as hunting deer and other wild game and use in competitive sports involving target shooting, such as biathlon. However, I also believe that we need stronger gun safety laws in this country, such as, but not limited to, banning the sale of assault weapons to civilians and strengthening background check laws to keep guns out of the wrong hands.