Yesterday I spent the day with my wife and Tim Gordon, an NRA Training Counselor who owns Cornered Hill Firearms Training in Hudson, North Carolina.Last summer, my wife and I took Tim’s NRA Basics of Pistol Shooting course and we enjoyed it so much we were excited to take another course with him.
So, we made the 90 minute drive from home because Tim was good enough to accommodate our busy schedules and hold an NRA Basic Range Safety Officer course just for the two of us on a (very chilly) Sunday.
I have wanted to get an RSO certification for some time because I frequently find myself with new shooters at the range. These may be friends of mine for whom I am the only “gun guy” they know, or friends of my kids (like the Argentinian exchange student we took shooting), or students in my Sociology of Guns class during our field trip to the range.
I also thought the course would give me a wider perspective on shooting safety, beginning with knowing what to look for and what questions to ask of shooters, equipment, and facilities.
With those goals in mind, I came away from the course very satisfied. It raised a good number of big picture issues about range safety centered on “Standard Operating Procedures,” and also included a lot of detailed coverage of running a line, addressing stoppages and malfunctions, and handling medical situations (beyond people shooting themselves or others).
The test required some thought, and even included some (alas, outdated) humor – see Question 49 below.
This class, like my Basics of Pistol Shooting course before that, brought me back to the reality that the NRA is so much more than a political lobbying organization. It really is the country’s first and foremost gun safety organization.
While groups like Handgun Control Inc. — memo to NRA Training Department: the organization was renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in 2001 — and Everytown for Gun Safety promote safety FROM guns, the NRA promotes the safe and responsible USE of guns. Even those who do not want to shoot or have no interest in owning guns would benefit from taking a gun safety class from the NRA, and having their kids take a class, too.
Think what you want about the National Rifle Association’s political activities — I personally don’t care for its Trumpism, hyperbolic videos with Dana Loesch, or support for Roy Moore in Alabama — the educational side of the organization isn’t an 800 pound political gorilla. It is thousands of spider monkeys living quite happily and promoting gun safety in communities in every part of these United States, like the small town of Hudson where my wife and I spent the day yesterday.