by John Boch
(Guns Save Life) – We had a little seven-year-old girl named Olivia at the Appleseed in Danville. She was from a family of five, where four were shooting.
To her credit, Olivia was very good all Saturday keeping herself busy and out of the way, but on the ride home apparently complained to mom and dad that she wanted to “shoot” her wooden “rifle” just like the grown-ups.
So, on Sunday, mom and dad brought Olivia’s “rifle” – a crude wooden cut-out, spray-painted green with a laser pointer. She was quite happy on the line for much of the day, getting into proper position just as the adults did, “shooting” the courses of fire. She would then walk down with everyone and mark her “hits” on the target with a pen. It was so very cute.
Near then end of shooting Sunday, after getting mom’s blessing, I asked Olivia if she would want to shoot a real rifle. Her eyes lit up and the smile was priceless, so George, a fellow instructor, and I made it happen.
While we were getting the rifle set up, someone asked Olivia what the four safety rules were. That little girl nailed the Appleseed rules one after another exactly and without hesitation. When she finished the last one, everyone gave her a hearty round of applause.
It took a little patience getting her lined up and making ‘her’ rifle (George’s super-tricked out 10/22) into a crew-served gun set up for the right target.
When she was ready along with the rest of the shooters, the fire command was given as “Fire, men fire! For God’s sake, fire as fast as you can!” Little Olivia took the ‘fire as fast as you can’ to heart and hammered the trigger. Even before she finished her first magazine she was giggling like a proverbial schoolgirl.
George loaded a second mag while the others were continuing to shoot their redcoats, and we got Olivia all ready for her second volley. She began firing again. More giggling was followed with hollers of “I’m hitting it!” while she was still shooting.
When it was over and we got the rifle safe, she got up and bounded back to her mom in the back, jumping and cheering at her success.
Once the line was clear, she ran down to the targets and proudly and gleefully stood next to her target. “I hit it! I hit it!”
Olivia’s first time shooting a gun was something we’ll all remember for a long time to come.
Reprinted from the May 2011 issue of GunNews.
Here she is about a year later at an Appleseed event: