Pity the do-gooders in Chicago who dislike guns so viscerally.
They hold gun buy-backs, trading perfectly good taxpayer money for mostly non-functioning junk at Chicago’s (in)famous gun buybacks.
In 2012, Guns Save Life took up 65 clunkers to trade for perfectly good cash. Some of our guns were fire-damaged, others were just pre-1898 rust-ruined barreled-actions and some were literally held together with tape.
We picked up a couple of additional $100 gift cards a week or so later (thank you Wicked Wendy!) as the turn-in people had ran out of cards at one of the locations we “visited” and gave us vouchers for later redemption.
We’ve been spending that money on ammunition for the nation’s longest-running NRA Youth Shooting camp each year, held annually at Darnall’s Gun Works and Ranges in Bloomington, IL.
This year was the 20th anniversary of the camp, and Guns Save Life spent the final $2000 of that Chicago money on ammo to teach 151 young people, ages roughly 9-16 how to safely handle guns over the four-day, three-night camp.
The irony of spending Chicago’s money to buy ammo to teach kids to shoot safely is delicious, bordering on delightfully subversive.
The kids got a chance to experience most of the major shooting disciplines, including black powder, cowboy action, Ruger steel challenge, air rifle, small-bore rifle, small-bore pistol, shotguns (trap shooting), archery and more.
GSL Defense Training ran the pistol line again this year, a station that has become a favorite among many of the kids. We run two relays of 15 shooters, teaching them the fundamentals of pistol shooting with semi-auto .22s. To make it a little more interesting, we allow the top five shooters in each relay to shoot five rounds from some of our center-fire training guns, and a couple of neat “bigger guns” some of the bolder, more courageous campers opted to fire.
In a wonderful moment of good sportsmanship the final day, one young man who had the high score for his relay of shooters allowed one of the younger girls to take his place in the center-fire shooting stage. She got a chance to shoot her first AR-style firearm and was overjoyed at the experience.
New this year was Project Appleseed instructors running the rifle line, teaching the fundamentals of rifle shooting in addition to sharing some American history on the significance of April 19, 1775, the day the American Revolution began.
The Appleseed instructors and other rifle instructors ran all thirty kids simultaneously on a line chock full of Ruger 10/22s for each session. Talk about a full plate for the instructors with the younger kids!
At night, the young folks camped on the far side of the range property and generally had a great time. They had games to play, bonfires to burn and s’mores to make. On Saturday evening was the adult trap shoot under the lights, where the adult volunteers and junior staff members got to shoot trap after it got dark. If you’ve never shot trap at night, under lights, it’s quite an experience.
Sunday, after the last of the organized shooting, world-famous exhibition shooter Badlands Bill Oglesby put on a show, dazzling kids and adults alike with his incredible shooting. He fired two shots that sounded like one, striking two targets several feet apart. He wasn’t using bird shot on balloons, either. Real pistol rounds impacted the berm fifty yards downrange. He repeated that shot, only adding a third target shot with a second gun at the same time. And from there, the shots grew in complexity and difficulty.
All in all it was a long weekend for the kids and adult volunteers alike, but worth every minute of it as we have inoculated over 150 of the next generation from Michael Bloomberg’s fear and histrionics about guns.
Lastly, for Mayor Emanuel: If you read this, would you please be so kind as to run another buyback program later this year or early next year? Think of it as being “for the kids”.