Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of introducing several friends to the gun range. I am always surprised at how many folks out there have never fired a gun.
Many of us who grew up with fathers and uncles who owned firearms take it for granted. We tend to assume everyone knows the fundamentals of firearm handling.
But many Americans are totally uneducated about modern firearms, not by choice, but simply because they’ve never known where to start.
Men who would like to engage in shooting sports tend not to want to admit to their friends that they don’t know how to handle or safely discharge a gun.
Women, being the more practical gender, are very cautious and avoid asking most men to show them how to use a handgun…perhaps because they know most of us men are egotistical show-offs who will pretend we know more than we actually do.
Statistics for learning any new skill that requires experience and training tend to show that getting help from your friends is not the best option. I recently read one study about motorcycle riders which found that a person trained to ride a motorcycle by his friends was more likely to suffer a fatal motorcycle accident than a person who had no training at all and simply practised on their own! I suspect the same might be true for many gun owners.
Getting instruction and training on firearms from a professional trainer is a valuable thing. Most firearms instructors will tell you that the hardest people to train in the correct handling and use of firearms are people who have been trained by non-professionals. Those folks have a hard time “unlearning” bad habits and replacing them with correct habits.
Enter First Shots, a program established by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Realizing from their own research that 48,000,000 Americans are interested in the shooting sports but have never taken the plunge out of consternation over their own lack of knowlege, the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) established the First Shots program to provide free seminars run by professional firearms instructors to introduce newcomers to safe handling of guns.
The seminars include coverage of local, state, and national firearms laws, safe handling instruction, and live fire at a range.
If you want to see whether firearms are compatible with your lifestyle, go to the First Shots web site, http://www.firstshots.org and peruse the materials and videos. You’ll find many useful links, including locations near you where First Shot seminars are being hosted, as well as links to find other local gun ranges.
Guns are a wonderful part of American society. They are tools for defense of the innocent, hunting, and sport. You have the right to own them, and a right not used is a right forsaken.
Give First Shots a “shot” and see if any of the many reasons for owning and practicing with a firearm make sense to you. What do you have to lose? It’s free!