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Posted: 8/14/2007 2:50:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2007 3:21:12 PM EDT by pbrstreetgang]
went to the range sun. as i was unloading i greeted a dad and about a 9yr old boy with a cricket rifle. they go over to the 100/200yd side. i am going to the 50/25yd side to test fire some shotguns and rifles i bought and built over the last couple of years (have been too busy to shoot em). i finish unloading and i hear shots, but they're not coming from the firing line. i walk over to the 100yd area and dad and son are shooting at the berm from about 70 yds from the firing line . as i walk up i notice that neither had hearing or eye protection . 1 violation of club rules, 3 of common sense.

this club has had some minor safety failures in the past and has become diligent about members being responsible for knowing the rules. i greeted them and apologised for interrupting and explain that i will be function firing some unproven, unzeroed weapons and range rules require everyone to be on the same line. (especially on the long gun ranges. there is a wind row between the 50/25 and 200/100 ranges. the ranges are parallel and adjacent.) he says the kid is a beginner and he wanted to be away from me for safety. i explain that a .308 ricochet coming in their direction would not be safer than following the rules. he further demonstrates some confusion on his part by stating that "he read the rules allow shooting short"- yeah , on the pistol range when all shooting on it have agreed to shoot short. not necessary there, because he clearly wanted to shoot 25yds. i quietly told him that if it had been one of the trustees instead of me who found him it likely would have been embarrassing. i coaxed them back saying i would help keep an eye on his boy.

i offered some foam earplugs and safety glasses (i always carry spares). dad said he was in a hurry and forgot the safety stuff. i said i was in a hurry and forgot stuff too, but not the safety equipment. if you can remember the gun and ammo you can remember hearing and eyes (especially for his kid). i told him i have some hearing loss from my youth and many times things have bounced off my glasses that may have cost me an eye. he thanked me for the plugs and glasses and offered me some of his targets- which i had forgot. they set up at one end of the 25yd line and i on the other about 50 feet away.

dad seemed like a nice guy in his early 30's. the exchange was polite and friendly, but i was uncharacteristically firm after a several year dry spell and driving an hour. i was also frankly a little annoyed that dad didn't know the rules and made several poor choices (IMHO) about his child's safety. i was going to shoot 12 ga and .223, .308- a bit loud for this squirrely kid but i couldn't justify disregarding the safety rules and i did offer them earplugs, which they accepted. i am 40, but look much younger, and have found that if i am to be taken seriously i must speak with benevolent, but crisp authority. i usually go out of my way to avoid confrontations because this takes commitment and a great deal of energy. i felt bad about making them subject to my muzzle blast, but dammit, i took the time to know the rules and be safe.

the boy was excited about my black guns so i chatted with him. i like kids. i'll admit i have none of my own 'cept for my girlfriends, but i have worked with several young people, taking them out for their first shots, who have gone on to become Marines, cops, and firefighters. this little guy definitely had signs of ADD. (dad did say the boy was diabetic) i say this because i have been diagnosed with it and take medication from time to time. i was undiagnosed until adulthood because my parents, although baffled by my academic performance not equaling what i was assessed to be able to do, simply would not tolerate acting out, disobedience, and ignoring them. clearly not the case with this poor kid. i liked him and sympathised with him. he was going a million ways at once. dad clearly was not in control. he would repeat things softly to him till the boy did something, and then scold him. i know i'm treading on thin ice, but IMHO that type of leadership is inappropriate for the presence of loaded firearms. i thanked the dad for getting his boy an early start (my own father never had an interest), but inwardly i wished the dad would have waited till he had his boy's attention and respect first.

i understand why he wanted to be alone, the rules and everyones safety just wouldn't allow it. i couldn't safely fire my weapons on the long range, leaving the shorter range to them.

they shot for a little while, the left to go back to fishing, returning while i was packing up.

so that's my story. i'm having a lot of conflicted feelings about this experience. i hate inconveniencing people, but i feel if i can make the effort- i expect everyone else to also.

so, was i helpful, or a know-it-all busybody? or would you have just left?
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 2:53:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2007 2:55:23 PM EDT by wildearp]
If I was the only one there, I would let them shoot short and lend them safety equipment. I carry spares like you do. All of us should. If they walked out into my safety zone or line of fire, I would have pointed it out.

On the other hand, if someone muzzle sweeps me, I loose it.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 2:58:52 PM EDT
sounds like you did good.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:11:03 PM EDT
I dont see a problem with what you did
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:15:52 PM EDT
Sounds like you did right.

If you get all confrontational or aggressive you just ruin your whole range trip with BS and put the guy on the defensive resulting in a PIA.

Part of community means dealing with people not too bright, but its only when they have bad hearts do you need to be an ass.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:24:14 PM EDT
I always carry a box of foam ear plugs. Got 500 for $9.00 close out at Target in pharmacy section, 3M brand. I give them out all the time. Guys forget to bring them often.

I also have a couple of extra sets of safety glasses for just that.

Need to start carrying NRA safety hand outs to give to people like that.

People like gifts.

Teachable moment.

Being polite goes a long way.

You're fine... Don't sweat it.

Link Posted: 8/14/2007 3:24:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By anjan9:
I dont see a problem with what you did

Link Posted: 8/14/2007 4:15:45 PM EDT
Sounds like you did very well.

Some folks that show up at a range either haven't really been taught about firearms safety , or have become complacent because "Well , I've never had a shooting accident before." , and for the sake of the sport/hobby of shooting and the continued well-being of its participants , it's good to offer a reminder to shooters sometimes.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 4:38:58 PM EDT
You handled that perfectly.

And I simply keep a "range bag" with targets, staple gun, extra staples, half a dozen pr of safety glasses, a big wad of pkgs of foam earplugs, 4 or 5 earmuffs, and other assorted odds and ends.

I am not shy about approaching guests or onlookers and saying, here, take this and use it. Just bring them back to me when you leave, but DO wear them.

And letting them know where they can shoot from, range rules, while maybe not necessary this time, it will later the same day when others show up, or another day. Don't worry about ticking them off. Worry about them getting hurt. I think if you explain things right, they'll understand and appreciate it.

Offer to let the kid shoot some "black rifles". If that won't get them fired up, I don't know what will.

All in all, a big Plus One for you!
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 4:46:51 PM EDT
You did well. I was at the range setting up a target at the fifty yard mark. As i turned around a man and a women were behind the range with the male pointing a 357 down range. After i hit the deck, he put the gun down. He told me the gun was empty and he was teaching his wife how to aim.
Link Posted: 8/14/2007 5:34:53 PM EDT
oh, if I HAD to be critical of you, I might say you were a little overbearing, but come on, safety is worth it! sounds like you did a great job. Remember you never know what the other guy just went though that day, that week, that year...he may be a divorced dad ready to snap and kill somebody. Don't be somebody.
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