The Portland Gun Club played host today to a joint "New Shooter Day" put on by the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon and the African American Hunting Association (AAHA). Portland Gun Club board member Rick Policar led a new shooter safety orientation and helped seven brand new shooters fire off their first shots:
Here Sunshine Dixon gets ready to fire her first round.
Beth Reichhoff gets a feel for steel.
Dreyvon Stevens shows he knows how to hold a long gun, though this was his first time with a shotgun--which he noted kicks a bit more. But he fired a good 20 to 25 rounds with the youth model 20 gauge and hit more than one.
Adults from left to right: Gun Owners Caucus treasurer, Brian Reichhoff, State House Representative Jules Bailey (D - Portland), and Sonia Doolittle on the line. Sonia proved to be the surprise of the day--nailing about 25% of her shots even though it was her first time ever firing a gun:
Sonia celebrating after turning another clay into dust. (Seriously, Sonia, keep with this--you're a natural!)
Stuart Johnson gets ready to fire his first round. The .410, even with the youth stock, was still a little long but he kept with it, too, showing off his bruised arm later. ; )
Amy Bailey firing at skeet for the first time: nailed it! (Naturally! Never bet against a beginner at the range!)
Donny Adair (picture, above), founder of the African American Hunting Association, brought along his "little brother" in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program to give him some fun and instruction. Donny and I are both strongly of the opinion that shielding youth from firearms is the absolute worst thing you can do to their education into adulthood.
Face it, guns are fun, attractive (especially to young men) and are part of American life. Our children need to know how to handle a gun safely, how to recognize safe (and unsafe) handling when others are holding the gun, and that we need to treat guns with respect. Days like today are perfect opportunities for shooters young and old to learn gun handling, safety and "gun culture," which is more than just competent usage. Gun culture includes many levels of respect, an asset in life best learned from adults but which can also be found in youngsters such as were with us today.
If you're concerned about the future of gun rights and gun culture in America, it's good to be involved politically. But politics follows culture, not the other way around. Vote, lobby, agitate, but most of all: take someone shooting!
Left to Right...
Front Row: Brian Reichhoff, Sonia "Dead Eye" Doolittle
Back Row: Sunshine Dixon, Stuart Johnson (held), Jodi Russell, Donny Adair, Rick Policar, Amy Bailey, Jules Bailey.
Donny Adair nails a few clays with the youth model 20 gauge.
Though the blog of course continues, this will be my last post to Blue Steel Democrats. I am moving within the week to New Hampshire and will no longer be an Oregonian. I will of course still be a gun owner - "Live Free or Die," as they say in NH. It's bitter sweet to go, but today I saw that the caucus we founded three years ago is in good and capable hands and continues to grow. Protecting the Second Amendment by expanding the pool of hunters, shooters and gun owners is the best investment in democracy you can make.