Volunteer to coach young shooters

I believe the root of the problem we have in this country of misguided people hurting others is not the availability of firearms, but a lack of knowledge and respect for guns. I think the solution is not to outlaw guns, but to teach our kids more about them.

Some may say it’s ridiculous, but I think teaching our kids about guns is the best way to prevent future violent acts committed with firearms. Those who were not raised around guns may think this is counterintuitive, but those of us who grew up shooting understand what I’m talking about.

I learned to shoot when I was barely big enough to hold the .22 my dad taught me with. All along the way, as he was teaching me how to first be familiar with guns and later how to improve my shooting skills, he hammered gun safety into my head.

I loved shooting. It was the highlight of my week when we got to go to the range down in the pasture and plink at cans or shoot at paper targets. But on the occasions when I failed to follow every safety rule to the letter, even if it was a minor infraction, Dad would call off the shooting session and we’d go straight home. He didn’t yell and scream, but I could tell by how he talked to me about what I’d done wrong that he was serious about safety. I knew from day one what could happen if I made a mistake with a gun.

I’ve tried to bring up my own sons with the same approach to shooting. They love to go shoot, and when we do, they too are expected to put safety above all other considerations.

I’m not content to just teach my own kids, though. I’ve been volunteering to help coach in our 4-H shooting sports, as well as for  the American Legion air rifle team. I encourage you to do the same. We need to educate the next generation about firearms, and those youth shooting clubs are an excellent environment.

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