Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Gun owners urged to take safety course
TO THE EDITORS:
This past weekend my girlfriend and I took a two-day NRA Basic Pistol Safety/Shooting course sponsored by the Manheim Sportsmen's Association. We want to join our husbands in their new hobby of target shooting. Being responsible adults, we wanted to educate ourselves first. The certified NRA instructors presented the material in a no-nonsense manner. They continually stressed the importance of responsible firearm ownership and safety.
Although having grown up with a father who enjoyed hunting and therefore had locked firearms in our home, I personally never had any experience with handling a firearm. Quite frankly didn't think I would have the desire. I was passionate as well as anxious about owning and operating a firearm. The instructors helped to lessen my anxiety by not only acknowledging but validating my feelings. As certified NRA instructors, they want individuals who decide to own firearms to be aware that the responsibility they are accepting is one that should not be taken lightly. They volunteer their personal time to run these safety courses as they are so committed to responsible gun ownership.
It was frightening and disturbing to learn that the eight women and eight men who completed this class are actually in the minority. Many firearm owners do not arm themselves with the knowledge of how to be a responsible firearm owner.
The news is polluted with the recent surge of people buying firearms for home and personal protection. I strongly urge those considering this purchase to take a certified safety course before doing so.
There were moments during class that I thought maybe this wasn't for me. Ignorance breeds fear and carelessness. Arm yourself with knowledge and skills so you can be a responsible citizen who still has the freedom to bear arms if you choose to make that decision.
Thank you again to all the NRA instructors of the Manheim Sportsmen's Association. I left feeling proud to be one of your students. My journey is just beginning. I will continue to educate myself on being a responsible firearm owner and handler.
Tina L. Dougherty