In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., one could imagine that allowing guns to be in close proximity to a gathering of high school students from the state could raise some eyebrows.
Due to a contractual obligation, however, that’s exactly what happened at the girls’ state high school basketball finals.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Fla., hosted the tournament and a gun show at the same time.
The gun show was scheduled by the venue, and contractual obligations left the FHSAA with few options for rescheduling.
First-year FHSAA executive director George Tomyn told the Sun Sentinel that the organization tries to remain neutral on “politically charged events,” and that the board has not discussed the possibility of events being co-located with gun shows in the future.
Still, some were surprised and disappointed that students and spectators were sharing a venue with gun owners openly carrying weapons.
Jason Hively, whose team from Nova High School was competing in the tournament, told the Sun Sentinel he was stunned when he saw someone with a “big rifle” in the parking lot as the team bus was pulling into the facility.
Nova is located about 24 miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
From the Sun Sentinel:
“It caught me off-guard,” Hively said. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Whatever your feeling is on the Second Amendment, I don’t think the two mesh here.”
“I think after Stoneman Douglas — to be honest, I was a little disappointed to see it. If you’re holding an athletic event for kids to promote sportsmanship, personally I don’t think it’s a good look for parents, kids and fans to walk into a venue that’s being shared with people carrying assault rifles. I don’t think [a gun show] should be held at the same time you’re holding a state tournament.”