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A Day at a Shooting Range

Have you ever gone shooting? Handled a firearm? Read on. You might be interested in knowing about coming with me to the shooting range.

Twice a year, for the past few years, I have taken a group from SFU to a shooting range and introduce them to firearms. Many people at SFU (whether they are students, staff, or faculty) have never so much as touched a gun before. They typically are surprised how much they learn and how much fun they have at the range. Many tell me it is quite an eye-opener. (See the testimonials below).

If you are interested in coming to the range with us the next time we go, please e-mail me to see when the next "Day at the Range" will be. We usually go twice a year, on once in February and again in October. It depends upon when I can find a Saturday that is convenient for the volunteers at the range. There is a small fee; primarily to cover ammunition and renting the range. The range wardens are all trained firearm safety instructors who have volunteered to help out.

I believe it is important to introduce people to firearms for several reasons:

First, the visit to the range teaches firearm safety.

Given that between 25% and 33% of all households in Canada have a firearm, it is important to know about firearm safety. You never know when you or your child will find themselves in a room with someone who is handling a firearm. You need to have enough knowledge, at the very least, to be able to know whether the person handling the firearm is doing so safety.

What would you do if you were given the opportunity to handle the firearm? I think it is dangerous when all that most urban people know about guns they learned from television. Think about what a world we would have if all we knew about sex we had learned from television? The mind recoils.

Because almost all of the participants have never handled firearms before, the day at the range starts with a one-hour lecture on firearm safety. Participants are drilled in the basic rules of firearm safety before they are allowed to touch a firearm. After learning firearm safety, participants are allowed to shoot handguns, rifles, and shotguns under the direct supervision of Certified Firearm Safety Instructors.

All Firearm Safety Instructors are certified by the Canadian Federal and Provincial Governments. For safety reasons, each participant will shoot under the direct supervision of a Firearm Safety Instructor on the range.

Second, the visit is a way to bridge the cultural gap between urban and rural Canadians.

There are two "solitudes;" and they both exist in English Canada. Urban Canadians do not talk with rural Canadians. The vast majority of rural Canadians grew up with firearms, and they were taught how to handle guns safely. Consequently, they are relatively comfortable around guns. Urban Canadians, on the other hand, do not come from homes, by and large, where their parents had firearms. If they weren't raised with firearms, they know little or nothing about firearms, except what they have seen on television. Consequently, they are typically nervous, even frightened around firearms.

Third, shooting is a lot of fun.

Try it; you'll like it.

Fourth, shooting is a challenging mental discipline.

Women and men participate on an equal level because strength is not a factor.

It's not as easy as it looks in the movies to hit the bullseye. It takes training, practice, and patience. Many are surprised to learn that women typically are better shooters than men.

I enjoy watching people move quickly from not knowing anything about how to shoot a firearm, to becoming reasonably accurate in the space of one afternoon. Most students are pleasantly surprised themselves.

If you are interested in coming, I'd be delighted to hear from you. Just email me at mauser@sfu.ca


Some testimonials

#1 Thank you for organizing the shooting lesson.. It's a good exposure for learning proper handling of guns. My first impression about gun bore with violence and cruelty. After the lesson, I've found that it can connote recreation. That's interesting. My friends and I would like to go there again and would like to know if you will have similar shooting lessons in future. How can we get the license?

Thank you very very much!!!

#2 Just wanted to say I had an AWESOME time at the range!!! All 3 guns are very cool, & I'm glad to know the basics of safely handling a gun :) Didn't expect to have that much fun!! :) :) Thank you.

#3 I'd like to thank you again for organizing the course last Saturday, I had a lot of fun and enjoy the shooting a lot. I'll be looking forward to the course in February, I'm planning to drag as many people from [here] as I can. It was great!!!! At some point somebody mentioned a web site, are there going to be pictures placed somewhere?


Ten rules of firearm safety

1. Treat every firearm as though it was loaded.
2. Always point the muzzle of a firearm in the safest direction.
3. Do not put your finger in the trigger guard until ready to fire.
4. Open the action of a firearm upon picking it up.
5. Look into the chamber and magazine to ensure the firearm is unloaded.
6. Be certain the barrel is free from obstruction. This should be done before loading and periodically during movement in the field.
7. Check for the correct ammunition for the firearm you are using.
8. Use the safety but don't rely upon it.
9. Never climb a tree, or fence, or jump a ditch with a loaded firearm.
10. Be sure of your target and beyond before pulling the trigger.

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