by Richard Pearson
Illinois State Rifle Association
A 30-something suburban Chicago man approached me recently and expressed his frustration that, although he and his family are eager to learn to shoot, opportunities to become involved in shooting seem few and far between. My first thought was that this fellow just wasn’t looking hard enough or in the right places. But before I chided the guy for his lack of persistence, I stopped to remind myself that he is probably correct.
Getting involved in shooting was certainly easier for those of us who first picked up a firearm three decades or so ago. Just about everyone had a relative who shot, many schools and employers had rifle and pistol teams, and then there were also the Boy Scout and 4-H shooting programs in which to participate. Getting involved in shooting was easy for us – shooting was just one of those things that everyone did.
Of course, the gun grabbers and their aggressive agenda of domestic disarmament have ruined the shooting sports for most people. Corporate shooting teams have all but gone away. Few public schools east of the Mississippi or north of the Mason-Dixon Line have active rifle or pistol programs.
The gun controllers have certainly created a deep gulf between people who want to get into shooting and the opportunities for them to do so. As gun owners who care about the future of the sport, we need to build bridges of opportunity spanning the gulf of anti-gunner obstructions. The survivability of shooting depends on it.
I’m happy to say that the ISRA engaged in a bit of bridge-building this past weekend in the form of the Association’s 12th-annual range open house. As in the past, hundreds of new shooters were among those in attendance. For many, the open house was the first time they’ve had the opportunity to interact with experienced shooters and learn first hand about the shooting opportunities available to them. More than one newcomer approached me on Saturday to tell me that the open house had pointed them in the right direction in pursuit of their shooting interests.
Where do you fit in to the picture? The answer is simple. The range open house is just one day per year. You, on the other hand, have the opportunity to build bridges for new shooters the other 364 days.
We’re depending on you to recruit new shooters and help them launch their participation in the shooting sports. So, when you make plans to go to the range, take the time to ask a friend or relative who doesn’t shoot if they would like to go with you. Lots of folks are just waiting to be asked – you may be surprised at just who takes you up on your offer!
Thank you for being a member.