Shotgun Club raises alarm on campus

A new club forming at Northern Kentucky University and its promotional materials are raising safety concerns for some students.

The Shotgun Club is a registered campus organization designed to bring interested students together to compete in trap and skeet shooting competitions, but the new club’s name choice made some students concerned that it might be promoting personal gun use.

“Yeah, the name can be alarming, but it’s just a team competing in a sport,” said Jill Kleiser, assistant director for recreational programs.

Kleiser said the university has authorized student-ran shooting clubs since 2005, formerly called Trap and Skeet and Shooting Sports Club. The Shotgun Club was given a more general name because club founder Justin Schwebler plans for the club to enter various types of contests.

No one has voiced safety concerns about previous shooting groups, Kleiser said. She cited other student groups that could be considered unsafe, such as archery and paintball, that NKU has allowed to form.

Schwebler said there is no need for safety concern from his new organization, either.

“Firearms are just pieces of metal and wood,” Schwebler said. “They take the same maturity as driving a car.”

The Shotgun Club and other groups like it face different challenges than other student groups because they must find somewhere off campus to meet and can never store their equipment on NKU property.

Schwebler said if team members plan to go to a meeting or practice after being at NKU, they will meet off campus to carpool and store their weapons at his home, if needed. He is also making arrangements for the club to meet at a shooting range in Crittenden.

Although the club plans to compete, Schwebler said they welcome people of all skill levels. There is no licensing or certification required to join, and new members do not need to bring their own firearms or ammunition. Anyone interested in attending a meeting can contact Schwebler at

Story by Cassie Stone