For gun club, safety firstPublished 11:04am Monday, April 29, 2013
Grand Meadow group teaches youth
About 30 youngsters practiced with handguns, rifles, shotguns, bows, climbed a tree stand, walked fields and learned all about firearm safety Saturday near Grand Meadow.
For many of them, it was the first time they shot a gun. Still, they were already more familiar with the process than some would think.
“Each student has gone through 14 hours of classroom education,” said Greg Lamp, lead instructor of the firearm safety course through the Grand Meadow Gun Club. “You’ve got to take your time. You want to make sure these kids are safe.”
Before teaching them anything, though, Lamp always asks every participant: “Why are you taking the class?”
He wants to make sure they are committed to safety and paying attention.
Brothers John and Jay Baldus of Grand Meadow, both 11, were among the many students in the class.
“We did it just to have fun and so we can get our permits and not have to do it later,” John said, who clearly plans on hunting.
“And to learn the fundamentals of shooting,” Jay added.
The boys’ father, Lee Baldus, echoed the same words as everybody else.
“I just want them to learn and understand and respect guns, and not be afraid of guns,” he said
So on Saturday, it was finally time for those youngsters to test their skills, and they couldn’t have hoped for a better day to do so. Despite never using a shotgun, some participants discovered they are already crackshots as they shattered clay pigeons, one after another.
Some of the students may never hunt or again use the skills they learned, but they won’t forget how to be safe when around guns. Without a doubt, the participants have heard the word “safe” more than a few times, as a half-dozen instructors showed them the aspects of handling firearms, a bow, climbing a tree stand, shooting with rifles and safely hunting in an open field.
In just a few months, plenty of them will be ready to hit the fields and woods with their new skills, and an appreciation for firearms, their surroundings and the people around them.