The NRA donated $10,000 to help train the Parkland shooting suspect to use a rifle

He practiced on indoor ranges shooting at targets the size of coin.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond  hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting.  (CREDIT: Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)
Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where he allegedly killed 17 people, is seen on a closed circuit television screen during a bond hearing in front of Broward Judge Kim Mollica at the Broward County Courthouse on February 15, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mr. Cruz is possibly facing 17 counts of premeditated murder in the school shooting. (CREDIT: Susan Stocker - Pool/Getty Images)

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who charged with murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, honed his marksmanship skills in a school program supported by the NRA. Cruz was, according to the Associated Press, a member of the school’s four-person varsity marksmanship team, which received a $10,000 grant from the NRA in 2016.

The marksmanship team was part of the schools’ JROTC program. On the team, Cruz trained with “air rifles special-made for target shooting, typically on indoor ranges at targets the size of a coin.”

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Cruz discussed his AR-15 with other team members and was given the nickname “Wolf.” Another member of the team described him as “a very good shot.”

The NRA declined to comment on the donation. In 2015, the NRA Foundation gave $2.2 million in similar grants promoting gun use to schools around the country. This includes grants “to elementary and middle schools.”

The NRA Foundation’s website says it’s “investing in the next generation of America’s leaders” by devoting “a significant majority” of the group’s grants to “youth shooting sports.”

NRA Foundation Website
NRA Foundation Website

The NRA Foundation operates the Friends of the NRA program, which raises money for youth shooting sports as a way of recruiting young activists to fight gun regulation.

Friends of the NRA describes itself as “a 100% grassroots effort fueled by a united front to secure the Second Amendment and raise money for the shooting sports.”

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The NRA has been actively commenting on the Parkland massacre on social media, arguing that the only way to prevent future tragedies is more guns.