With an increase in firearm purchasing over the past year, some gun ranges are emphasizing the importance of safety training.
One club is doing that starting with the youngest of gun owners.
At the McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club one word always stands out.
“Safe. Safety. It’s like an old saying: Safety is no accident,” McKenzie County Sportsman’s Club Ranger Manager Mark Entzi said.
Entzi says it’s always been his mission to stay on top of that.
“Once the trigger is pulled and the shell or bullet goes off you can’t take it back so it’s important to understand what you’re doing, where your muzzle is pointed at all times,” he said.
Today, as part of a free week-long hunting safety course ran by Entzi kids as young as 10 to age 18 were able to learn all about the basics of guns.
“They’re learning to respect the firearms they’re using, they’re respecting the game they’re chasing, they’re respecting land that they’re on and the whole environment and plus being safe and knowing what a firearm can and can’t do,” Entzi said.
The kids are tasked with participating in the classroom courses and are required to take a test.
Once passed they’re taken out to the range where they get a taste of what it’s really like to hold, load, aim, and shoot a gun.
“This is for boys and girls. We do have both boys and girls participating in this event,” Entzi said.
One participant is 10-year old Jetta Wahus..
“I think it’s pretty cool. It’s been pretty cool so far,” Wahus said.
And 12-year old Koleton Smith.
“This teaches you to be independent and it’s really fun,” Smith said.
“Coming out to the range gives the kids a full understanding of what they’ve learned in class,” Entzi said.
The supplies for today’s event were donated by Pheasants Forever, which is a youth non-profit group that focuses on gun safety and conservation.
“We’re having less and less people and the average age is going up and up and up, so we’re trying to get the youth involved and bring these guys up and get them involved in the sport,” McKenzie County Pheasants Forever President Rick Pkrzywinski said.
“It’s a wonderful thing and the kids are benefiting. The next generation — generation after generation — that’s how it works,” Entzi said.
Entzi says this is his third class this year and he plans to hold more in the future.
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