Kids are the future of the Second Amendment, but not if we treat their parents like pariahs.

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I was teaching a Home Defense Handgun Skills class yesterday, and during the last hour or so of range time a fellow and his two teenage kids drove in and set up on the range next to us to shoot a very well-accessorized AR-15.
During a break I engaged them in the normal range smalltalk, and I noticed two things about this family: first, they came to the range in an “evil, liberal” Prius; second, they were of an ethnic minority. Those are generally two things guaranteed to get people shunned at too many gun stores in this country, and not a few other places where shooters gather.

Not this day, and not at this place.

If you’ve been reading some of my more recent screeds imploring the shooting community to be more welcoming to non-traditional shooters, you already know how I treated this family: just like I would any other wholesome family who showed up to shoot on a Sunday afternoon. (This being Oregon, it was not a sunny Sunday afternoon but the kids braved the rain and wind for the chance to go shooting. That says a lot in and of itself.)

What I think is great about this encounter were the kid’s reactions: the son, who was perhaps 15 or so, was rather nonplussed about the whole affair; shooting was obviously something with which he was already familiar, to the point that it seemed perhaps a normal thing for him. (That, or it wasn’t as exciting as his video games!)

The roughly 17 year old daughter, on the other hand, was enthused about her time with the AR she’d just shot: “I loved it!”, she told me when I asked how she liked it. “I want that one!”, she smiled as she climbed into the Prius.

I looked at the gentleman, laughed a bit, and said “this might be the most expensive range visit you’ve ever had!”

He smiled a little as he closed the car’s hatch on the camo-finished rifle and replied “I’m okay with that.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how we win.

Others can (and sadly will) avoid the Prius drivers and those with different skin, making them feel as they they’re not welcome in the shooting world. For my part, I’m going to continue to welcome them into the shooting community just as I do everyone with a sincere interest. When this girl grows up to influence her children, her peers and her community, I’d rather that she do so with a positive attitude about shooting — and shooters — than a negative one.

She’s already off to a good start, and I hope that our very brief exchange helps cement her opinions about shooting as a wholesome activity for everyone and shooters as an inclusive group.

No matter how much it might cost her dad!

-=[ Grant ]=-


About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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