by Wyatt Saltarelli - Wednesday, July 12, 2017
On a hot, humid Texas day you might hear gunshots coming from a piece of land in the small town of Montgomery. With a closer look and the smell of gun powder in the air, you would see a bunch of teens concentrating intently on the proper way to hold a pistol and apply steady pressure to the trigger. You would also get the distinct feeling that these young people were having a lot of fun and doing some serious bonding over their discussion of which is better, a Glock 23 or a Sig 229. You would be right.
In August of 2012, after having the privilege of attending the NRA’s Youth Education Summit (Y.E.S.) I started an NRA youth shooting club, called the Montgomery Junior Shooters. Our goals are simply to become better shooters, have fun, and serve our community.
Montgomery Junior Shooters had their first meeting September 16th 2012, and have been on a roll ever since. At first, there was a legitimate problem for the club: Where would we shoot? However, we found a place at the Gun Emporium, a business in Conroe, Texas, that generously lets us use their range for free. Sometimes we also use our own personal range on my family’s 20 acres. Because both of these facilities are free, we are able to keep our cost for our members extremely low. Our instructor and supervisor is my dad, a police officer with over 20 years’ experience. He stresses accuracy and safety to us while challenging us to keep learning.
Through our meetings, each member has improved his or her shooting ability, honing in with a 40-caliber or 9mm handgun. One of our favorite ways to increase accuracy is through our club competitions. Shooting at a very small target, two members will take a step back for every time they hit the target until someone misses. Whoever misses first is out, and the winner stays in to shoot against the winner of the next group. These competitions are a lot of fun, but they also improve our shooting ability. Along with the teenagers, several parents have improved their shooting also, getting in some lessons at the end of our meetings. It is interesting to add that our club encouraged several parents to go ahead and exercise their Second Amendment rights, making the leap to becoming gun owners.
To our shooting club, community service is imperative. Recently, we visited an elderly neighbor of mine who is a former Army veteran in a wheelchair and cleaned up his 3-acre yard. Fallen trees were hauled away, leaves were raked, and weeds were pulled. Very soon, we plan to do more. On February 3rd, at the old Montgomery Community Center, we will have introduced the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program to children ages 3-9 in Montgomery County for free. We are very excited to teach these kids what to do if they encounter a gun: “Stop, don’t touch, leave the area, and tell an adult.” It is going to be a fun time. In fact, Eddie Eagle himself will be there in full costume. We are anticipating about 60 kids and their families. We are looking forward to introducing more NRA programs into our community and continuing our service as a club.
Finally, I want to emphasize that all of this has been possible because of the NRA. Being able to have the NRA supporting our club and allowing access to these programs has made all the difference. Personally, I have had opportunities this year because of the NRA that I never thought would happen to me. I have learned about government, stepped into some new leadership, expanded my skills, and forged life-long friendships because of the NRA. I firmly support the NRA as do the Montgomery Junior Shooters. We believe wholeheartedly what founding father George Washington said, “A free people ought to be armed.”
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