2011-06-02 / Letters

Youth Shoots Promote Gun Safety, Riflery

To The Editor:

“Hey, lemme ask you a question. Why do you guys do this?” I was hustling back to the competition, stuffing a hamburger down, when the young man stopped me. I didn’t have much time to chat since I was part of the show, so I made the answer as compact as I could. “We’re just doing our bit for the kids and community.” But truth be told, there’s somewhat more to “our bit.”

Each year, the Fulton County Pistol & Rifle Club puts on its youth shoot. Every Friday in May, the club invites the youngsters of the county to experience shooting sports, free of charge. Some who show up (with their parents) have never even held a firearm and would just like to satisfy their curiosity. Others are well versed in the art and are there to take a trophy home.

Those who live out their lives in the city and on the other side of the fence on this issue might say that we are encouraging and nurturing a blood-thirsty life style. That we should keep guns away from kids. That guns kill. That guns, hunting and shooting sports are all bad and so on. It is a familiar chant.

They might choose to ignore the concept of tradition or that it was the gun that won our freedom and keeps it. They also ignore the fact that a kid who has been introduced to guns and is aware of what they can do is far less likely to disrespect them. Admittedly, one of our goals is to promote that side of the issue. We will also freely admit that they are the future of the sport and more specifically, the future of our club. Without them and their enthusiasm, it all dies with us.

But don’t bother trying to sell all that to the kids. You’ll just get glazed over eyes and foot shuffling. Watch their big, broad smile when they hit a clay bird for the first time. Look for a bit more of a spring in their step and maybe even a change in their attitude when they take home a trophy. For four weeks, they listened, concentrated and worked for it. Now, they have something to be proud of. They feel just a cut above.

That’s why parents bring them. That’s why local businesses donate and volunteers make it a priority. That’s why we do it.

Those parents, the club and especially the kids wish to express their genuine appreciation to Buchanan Trail Sporters, Eddy’s Engraving, Fulton Tractor, Joey Lane, Joseph Wolfe, Mason Dixon Safari Club, McLaughlin’s Drug Store, M&M Electronics, The Lodge, Todd Alexander and Save-A-Lot for their help during the shoots.

Bill Watson

Hustontown

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