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Rolling out the welcome mat for new shooters!

September 22, 2012

Guns Save Life President John Boch.

by John Boch, GSL President
(GunNews) – Illinois’ excessive and oppressive gun laws impede new shooters taking up safe and fun shooting sports, not to mention deriving the potential life-saving benefits of firearm ownership.

By educating more of our state’s residents, we can change attitudes and laws.  To affect that end, we should exploit every opportunity to welcome new in shooters and share the excitement of shooting sports.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.

Recently, the Aurora Sportsmen’s Club (ASC) held another of their fun and exciting “Zombie Shoots” on October 23rd.  Todd Vandermyde, the NRA’s point man in our state’s legislature was present and said that he was initially told by event staff and even the club’s president that Illinois law requires a FOID card to shoot.

That’s not true for an organized event and Todd personally wrote current law some years ago to allow non-FOID holders to shoot at club functions and training events.  The change was made specifically to allow new, perhaps first-time shooters to take firearms safety training or to try shooting at events under the guidance of a already registered gun owners in Illinois.

Vandermyde said the ASC’s president also expressed concern that without requiring FOID cards, folks shooting might be prohibited individuals.

Do ranges in roughly 47 other states without Firearm Owner ID cards have a serious problem with prohibited persons showing up for their public shooting events?  Even if the “wrong” people show up and shoot, there’s no liability for the club or its members so long as they aren’t knowingly loaning guns to prohibited people.

Our anti-civil rights legislature has enacted no shortage of onerous laws over the years.

Why would members of our shooting fraternity further discourage ten million U.S. citizen residents of Illinois from dabbling in the shooting sports, maybe for the first time?  Especially when new shooters mean new gun club members, new gun store customers, pro-gun voters and better equipped, prepared and responsible residents?

I’ve also seen NRA shooting classes advertised that require FOID cards.  Most NRA classes are specifically geared towards the new shooter.  Arbitrarily forbidding a massive segment of the population is contrary to the mission of NRA’s civilian training programs and doesn’t further our cause or the sport we all love.

Does your club have restrictions that may be outdated and unfriendly to new shooters?  If so, consider re-evaluating these and crack open the door to as many new shooters as possible.

Your kids and grand kids will thank you.