Sunday, April 11, 2010

I’m no longer available to introduce people to shooting

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The total number of folks I introduced to shooting is not great, the average number has only been around 2 – 3 people a year and the majority of them has been since maybe 1990. Some years had more than others did. None of the new shooters was via the internet. Via another blog, I once offered to take a guy from England who expressed an interest in shooting revolvers but his travel plans to Chicago changed.

Usually the new shooters were friends of a friend of a friend. Some were co-workers. Most were very nice people although a couple of them were pains. For my own safety, I would always arrange to meet strangers at a range at a given time; never were they invited to meet at my house. Only a couple of folks made me uncomfortable by insisting that I invite them over to the house; “Hey man, I really want to see all your stuff!” I was frank in explaining that it is unwise for me to invite complete strangers over to case my residence. Over the years, a few of the appointments were no-shows; this was somewhat frustrating for me. NONE of the new shooters expressed any positive reaction to my sales pitch regarding the merits of joining the Illinois State Rifle Association or the NRA. Most of the new shooters admitted to having never registered to vote, usually citing a fear of jury duty. There were self-defense questions that I was unqualified or unwilling to answer; “Can’t I just shoot the bad-guy in the knee? Can you show me how to shoot the gun out of the bad-guy’s hand?” There were a few awkward range-site cancellations; some folks showed up without first obtaining their Illinois FOID card, something that I had advised as being requisite. I don’t approve of the Illinois FOID law but the way that I read it, I cannot legally hand a firearm to anyone unless he or she has a FOID card or a valid out of state driver’s license. On one occasion a FOIDless prospective new shooter was acting so weird that I thought he was setting me up for some sort of police sting operation; not only did he insist that I let him shoot without having a FOID, he made persistent (unsolicited) offers to buy guns and ammo from me. I held firm and told him there was nothing I could do for him until he had his FOID; he never called back.

A person I had at the range recently was all thumbs and did not follow instructions (perhaps I wasn’t clear enough or he misunderstood). He put a negligent .22 round (down range) into the floor about 5-feet in front of him. That rattled my nerves. It is possible that I would have been found responsible if this person had hurt himself or others.

It is my belief that all but one of my new shooters had fun and went home with a positive outlook on guns. However, my naive good intentions possibly were putting me at risk. To my knowledge, the sessions did not generate any new voters or NRA members. It is time for me to call it quits. I’ll still go to the range with experienced shooters wishing to try one or more of my guns but will refer all new shooters to certified instructors.
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7 comments:

Arthur B. Burnett said...

Greetings from Texas,
I spend a lot of time introducing new shooters to firearms. Because I work with writers I deal with a lot of anti gun folks.
In fourty plus years I have only had one really bad experience. I was introduced to a woman recently seperated from her husband who wanted a gun for self defence. When I found out she had never held a firearm I made arrangements to meet her at a range so she could see what she was getting into. I ended up buying her a baseball bat with the understanding she forgot about getting a gun!
I don't regret the experience however. A friend of hers, who was also recently seperated, came along as well. She is now my wife.

dmurray said...

Your second paragraph prompted me to check out ISP for FOID FAQ's. Congratulations for being on your feed that day, regarding the FOID free "enthusiast." I looked briefly at the statute and found stuff about wearing a hoodie or a mask and how quickly you get into felony charge territory. Again I congratulate you for sticking to the basics and for knowing the statute. Keep up the good post work.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

dmurray, thanks for your comments and for stopping in. You in Illinois?

Art, I had to LOL about the baseball bat. Yeah, there are some folks that either learn slowly or not at all. Certified instructors are better trained to deal with non-gunners than we are.

My best to you both.

dmurray said...

California. Don't bother trying not to wince. Reasons for states to return to part time legislatures are confirmed in the antics of California, Illinois, Maine and New York. Is having a shoreline the problem? (I thank Dr. Phil for pointing out that at times a statement may be masquerading as a question.)

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Heh!

jim said...

FWIW I grew up in Barrington (Northern IL) and moved to Texas in 1972. As I recall we used to shoot at a range in Carpentersville. As you probably know attitudes here regarding firearm ownership, self defense and concealed carry are a long way from those in IL, CA, NY etc. Responsible firearms ownership is a right even enjoyed by our most liberal Democrats. Openly lesbian liberal Democrat mayor of Houston proudly has one of the first Texas concealed handgun licenses issued.

Enjoy your blog and hope to become a regular here. Take care

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hey there, Jim. Thanks for stopping in.