Nelson Twp. – A study conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that in the five-year period ending in 2010, almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings. Over 1,300 of those victims were under 25 years of age. A federal study of unintentional shootings found that 8% of such shooting deaths resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six. Close to home, near Kent, OH in March, an 11-year-old was accidentally shot and killed by his 15-year-old cousin.
“The primary concern when handling firearms is safety,” explained National Rifle Association (NRA) instructor Tammy Peters. Peters, a certified NRA instructor from Garrettsville, recently taught a Youth Shotgun Clinic at the Streetsboro Sportsmen Association’s facilities in Nelson Township. The class was offered at no cost to area children ages 10 – 18, accompanied by a responsible adult.
According to Club member Russ Vandercook, “People are scared of guns because they don’t understand how to safely use them.” Peters concurred, remarking, “The major cause of gun accidents are the lack of knowledge of how a firearm operates, and carelessness.” Safety courses like those offered by the club help to teach gun enthusiasts of all ages the basics required to handle and operate firearms in a safe manner.
Fifteen youth from the area learned the basics at the Club’s recent Youth Shotgun Clinic. Before ever touching a firearm, the group learned gun-safety basics. Peters mentioned the incident in Portage County, stressing the dire circumstances that can result when firearm safety precautions aren’t utilized. She told her students how to respond in a similar situation, if they ever find themselves around an unsecured gun while visiting a friend or neighbor. “Don’t touch it! Make sure that you and your friends leave the room immediately, and go tell an adult.”
During the course of the morning, students were familiarized with the basic parts of a gun, and how they function. Key concepts were also covered by Peters, who directed her class to, “Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction where it won’t damage people or property.” She continued, “Always keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire, and always keep your gun unloaded until you’re ready to use it.” A question and answer session was held after her informative lecture, and each participant received a copy of the NRA’s “Basics of Shotgun Safety,” handbook.
Afterward, the students were invited to practice the techniques they learned, under the watchful eye of their parents or guardians and a handful of the Club’s 150 members. Although the group was predominantly male, several females were in attendance. One young woman, Emily, was there with her father, Earl. Proud of Emily’s skill and expertise, her dad shared that he and Emily have been there and elsewhere to learn and practice. “It’s important for young people to learn how to handle a guns safely,” he stated. “It’s also a great way for kids to learn discipline,” he concluded.
The Streetsboro Sportsmen Shooting Club is a private facility that features a trap range and ranges of 25, 50,100 and 200 yard for bench rest, prone, silhouette and pistol matches. For more information on the club, visit streetsborosportsman.org.
The Streetsboro Sportsmen Association will be holding another free clinic at their Nelson Township facility. This upcoming clinic, held on May 31st, is entitled, ‘Women’s Introduction to Firearms’. This event will run from 9 am until 1 pm, and is offered at no charge, but requires advance reservations. For more information, or to register, contact Russ Vandercook at (330) 274-3566.