Some positive press in PA...


March 24, 2003, 07:15 PM
NRA official: Handgun owners must be knowledgeable

Sentinel reporter


LEWISTOWN - As an National Rifle Association law enforcement firearms instructor, Ted Deitman owns various guns and is familiar with their use.

He's a strong supporter of the Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.

But above all, Deitman is an advocate of gun safety, which is the main component of handgun classes he is teaching at the Mifflin County Sportsmen's Association.

The Fundamentals of Firearms Safety and Shooting Course deals with various issues, but safety is first and foremost.

Deitman explains, "The anti-gun community bases its platform on two things - take away guns and crime will go away and the safety aspect - we don't address the criminal aspect, but we do deal with safety."

He says anyone who owns a handgun should be familiar with everything about it.

"I'm a firm believer that if you have a gun, you should definitely be knowledgeable about it."

That means people should know more than just how to load a firearm and shoot it.

Using a metaphor, Deitman said, "People who drive must take a driver's test. They know how to put the key in and turn it on, but do they know why it works? I ask people who have firearms, do you understand how it works and why it works?"

Deitman's class includes about eight hours of classroom instruction and four hours on the shooting range. He covers topics such as safe firearm handling and the four fundamentals of shooting that help improve speed and accuracy. Also, shooting styles, reactive shooting versus precision shooting, operating principles of handguns and revolvers, the proper way to load and reload a weapon, drawing from holsters and firearms maintenance.

Safe firearm handling includes four basic principles:

• Treat every firearm as if it was loaded;

• Never point the barrel in an unsafe direction or at anything you do not want to hit;

• Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to engage your target;

• Know your target and what is well beyond it.

Using discussions, role playing and flip charts, as well as hands-on demonstrations, Deitman explains each fundamental and topic in detail.

"I stress to them how far a bullet can travel. You have no idea," he comments. "I tell them, once you fire a bullet out of a gun, you can't bring it back."

Deitman says safety is paramount when handling firearms because "accidents don't just happen."

"I can leave a gun on a table for a 100 years and it won't shoot anybody. But if you leave it there in front of a 6-year-old, that is how accidents happen."

He says the range instruction is also very important because people must be skilled in firing a gun.

"Many times, I'm up on the range and I've seen people who have no idea what to do. They know how to put a bullet in a gun and shoot it, but that's it."

The fundamentals of shooting taught in the classroom are practiced on the range.

They are: stance, grip and relaxed body; sight picture/sight alignment; trigger control and follow through (staying on the target after the shot has left the barrel).

Deitman said since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the purchase of guns in America has skyrocketed. Also, he has heard of a number of people purchasing handguns in response to the recent outbreak of burglaries related to the heroin epidemic in Central Pennsylvania.

That worries Deitman a little bit. He says everyone should have the right to defend themselves in their homes, but there are various factors that must be considered.

For starters, people must examine their motives for owning a handgun.

"If they say, 'Well, I have a gun, and I can bully people around...' that gives gun owners a bad name," he says.

While the course doesn't specifically focus on personal protection, Deitman will touch on it if the topic comes up. He says people need to be aware what is going to happen if they fire a gun in their homes.

"Have you really thought it out? If you fire at someone, do you know what is on the other side of that wall behind them? Is your child sleeping there? People need to think about these things," he notes, adding that there are usually legal ramifications, as well.

Deitman said conscientious gun ownership does not stop when the class is over.

"When you get home, talk to your spouse and your kids about guns. Hopefully, safety becomes contagious."

Deitman is teaching a course today and Sunday at the Mifflin County Sportsmen's Association. Other classes will also be scheduled. Call 242-4577 for information.

Match open to public
LEWISTOWN - Just like anything else where practice is important, Ted Deitman wants people to practice firing the guns they own.

"If you own a gun for five years and never shoot it, what happens when you try to fire it?" he asks.

The classes Deitman holds at the Mifflin County Sportsmen's Association, The Fundamentals of Firearm Safety and Shooting Course, include about four hours of range time, but he encourages people to spend more time on the range.

Deitman is inviting handgun owners to a combat pistol match at the sportsmen's club in Ferguson Valley 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 29. Law enforcement personnel are invited as well.

He doesn't want the term "Combat Pistol" to deter people. In addition to competing, handgun owners can practice their skills. Trophies and ribbons will be awarded in five different classes.

Deitman agreed to have the matches when Steven Gibbons, a sportsmen's association board member, asked him why the club couldn't offer something.

"He knows I do this (National Rifle Association firearms instructor)," Deitman says.

More matches will be scheduled. He says the ultimate goal is to have NRA sanctioned competitions.

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March 24, 2003, 11:02 PM
Seems to be a pretty middle of the road article. Not Anti, but not obviously Pro gun either.

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