Positive gun article


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Norton
May 1, 2005, 05:07 PM
From the Staunton, VA Newsleader:

Skills propel young sharpshooters
Safety remains primary lesson

By Joel Baird/staff
jbaird@newsleader.com


Joel Baird/The News Leader


VERONA —There is only one sound made by youngsters concentrating on a series of bull's-eyes 10 meters away: A repeated percussive cough, followed by the slap of air rifle pellets against the steel traps. That's all.

The 18 members of the 4-H Outdoor Sports Club at first pay virtually no attention to visitors. They know the drill: safety glasses, muzzles pointing down the line of fire, relaxing, focussing, and squeezing off a series of 10-shot rounds. After everyone has completed a round, the silence breaks. They bring their targets back to a desk, where they are scored by a handful of adults, most of whom are parents. There follows a minute or two of socializing until the shooters again pit themselves against their respective "bulls."

This crowd of youngsters is split almost evenly between boys and girls. All are ranked by ability.

On the bench, with their Daisy .177 caliber air rifles steadied on sandbags, Caitlin Grant, 13, Joseph Heerschap, 8, and Bethany Labrecque, 12, aim to earn their "sharpshooter" designation — and the subsequent "bars" of accomplishment that accompany the mastery of prone, sitting, kneeling, and standing marksmanship.

Grant is relatively new to the club, but not to guns.

Her father, R.D. Grant of Brands Flat, periodically watches her progress through a spotting scope.

"She has a .22 at home," he said. "She's been shooting for a year and a half. On Saturday she shot her first shotgun, a .410, and she hit her first trap with the first shot."

Most of the shooters lie prone on gym mats, the most stable position. Club president Tom Schuller, 16, however, is standing. When he finishes a round of 10, he relaxes.

The club is a close-knit group, he said.

"Most (members) are homeschoolers; they're friends, and they just kept bringing friends," he said.

After the official scoring session, club members rounded up their favorite novelty targets for a wind-down session.

Keeping fun in the equation is key, said club instructor Terry Kelley of Verona.

"These kids are competing against themselves," he said. "And they're getting much, much better."


Originally published May 1, 2005

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TonyB
May 2, 2005, 02:51 PM
That's awesome....I was in an actual rifle team in high school!!can you imagine the carnage that happened :uhoh:
People don't realize that the shooting sports teach kids life lessons..knowledge IS power....now if we can get them to get rid of the bb guns and get them some real guns..... :p

JohnBT
May 2, 2005, 03:16 PM
Knowing that area, I imagine they have access to plenty of guns at home. My folks live about 11 miles away.

John

Norton
May 2, 2005, 03:23 PM
JohnBT,

I taught in Augusta County for 6 years and Rockingham County for three years and I agree with you 100%. In fact, I can remember the Agriculture teachers at the middle school doing hunter safety courses as part of the curriculum.

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