I am an advocate of our youth firearms training programs in America. People who are anti gun do not know what a great experience they are depriving their children by not supporting these youth firearms training programs. The leading preventative of juvenile delinquency is to keep young people busy from the age of 13 to 26 years. Left to their own devices with nothing to do they will get into trouble. Shooting is a fun and exciting activity for a young person. I am sure most of you reading this remember the first time you shot a gun and how special that was. There are a number of things that will grab a young person’s interest, those that find a wholesome activity they are excited about are the lucky once and less likely to get into trouble. They usually do well with relationships and are successful at school.
It is a great loss that schools no longer have the ROTC firearms training programs and inter school shooting competitions. So many young people would benefit from these programs. We all have known those kids who were overly shy, they did not perceive themselves as being athletic. There are few programs they would feel comfortable trying, but when introduced to competitive shooting, they find that that is something they can do. A whole new world has opened up for them!
On a shooting line is does not matter what age or sex you are, you can compete and be competitive as anyone else. I knew a competitive shooter who was trying to win the Governor’s Cup, to be number one in the state. He would get up early in the morning before work and fire a thousand rounds or more and he would also practice after work and on the weekends. When asked if that was a little too much practice, he said, “There is only one, number one, anything less does not get it.” He came out of a youth shooting program and it was a passion he maintained for life and I’d venture to say he never regretted one minute he spent on the firing line.
At the age of 13 years a person is still growing and their strength and coordination is not fully developed. This will lead a young person to think they are not athletic, but they may have the makings of a champion athlete if they practice a sport and get into good physical condition. If that young person tries shooting, finds they enjoy the sport and sees that they can participate, they will enjoy practising and will see themselves improving. When they try a competition they will see what they must do to get better, to be able to hold their firearm steadily for the period of time required.
The NRA (National Rifle Association) is viewed by anti gun folks as being all about defending the 2nd Amendment. Reality is the NRA is about responsible gun handling and the enjoyment of firearms. The NRA is the main supporter of shooting competition and every competitive shooter should be thankful for to the NRA and at least a Life Member.