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February 17, 2009

An Introduction to Handgun Shooting


That's what 150 individuals enjoyed at three First Shots seminars in Chicagoland recently. First Shots is the National Shooting Sports Foundation's program that introduces people to shooting through safety education and supervised live-fire instruction. As in Chicagoland, many First Shots seminars focus on helping individuals understand the various aspects of handgun ownership, since knowing how to get started and navigating state and local laws can be barriers to first-timers.

Good things happen when newcomers are introduced to the shooting sports, as a story in the Suburban Chicago News illustrates:

After Suzanne Hohensee finished her shooting session, she was keen to the idea of buying a gun to hunt and do a little target practice with her family. "It was a really good experience," Hohensee said.

When you make a gun owner, recreational shooter or hunter, you make a lot of things: a supporter of the Second Amendment, someone who understands firearms ownership and who can correct those who may be critical of guns and gun owners, someone who wants to share the activity with a family member or friend, a conservationist (because excise taxes paid on equipment purchases supports wildlife restoration), someone who supports jobs at your community's shooting facility and at other companies in the shooting sports industry, and you create a friendly face for responsible firearms ownership and use in the community, which in urban areas is a badly needed role model.

With hundreds of shooting ranges around the country hosting seminars, First Shots is unquestionably making a lot of new shooters, and at the same time it's developing a community of people new to the shooting sports. Being part of a supportive community of like-minded individuals is important when you're first starting out with a new sport or hobby, and that's why NSSF has started a First Shots Facebook page where new shooters can meet, swap stories and tips, and find out how to take advantage of resources such as instructional videos at NSSF's www.huntandshoot.org and the calendar of First Shots events.

We expect the First Shots Facebook community to grow to become a virtual meeting place for not only First Shots alumni but for any individual who is getting started, or reactivated, in the shooting sports.