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Old February 21, 2009, 05:55 PM   #1
U.S.SFC_RET
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Safety infractions committed on range today.

I see safety infractions committed on ranges at an appalling rate.

This happened today.

1. Firearms pointed opposite of the target. Too many.
2. Firearms sweeping other people. Too many.
3. Loading magazines behind the firing line alongside the firearm. Posed a tremendous distraction.
4. Approaching the firing line without hearing devices. More than a couple of people.


Recently I went to a range where two parents and their young adult son were. They were shooting a baretta storm. The young adult had the gun pointed to the rear "not cleared" and I told his mother that the weapon should be pointed toward the target. She reminded him. He ignored him. Next thing I know he is absently sweeping that thing right at her. I step in and push it away and said "you need to point it in the safest direction possible and that is down range and pointed torward the target."
"He said it was unloaded."

To the forum: I have seen too many people get killed with unloaded firearms.

I have explained what happened to the range officer.
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Old February 21, 2009, 06:02 PM   #2
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Good

Keep up the good work. I still remember when I was hit in the face by a pellet that came from an "unloaded" gun. It did sting a bit.
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Old February 21, 2009, 07:17 PM   #3
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As a Safety Officer....

Yes, see this every time I go out. People are very lazy and of course don't know any better.

For the ones that answer back "It's unloaded." I tell them you just violated the first rule of gun safety... Treat every gun as if it's loaded. Second is muzzle control - point in a safe direction (downrange).

It's everyone's job to keep each other safe. Remember anyone can call a "Cease Fire" on any range. If you see a safety violation, at least report it to the range master or safety officer to correct immediately.

Just takes one idiot to shut down a range. Take that extra minute to help those that need it. You just may have helped stop the safety violation or worse from happening in the future.

We need to watch each other's back!
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Old February 21, 2009, 07:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Just takes one idiot to shut down a range. Take that extra minute to help those that need it. You just may have helped stop the safety violation or worse from happening in the future.
Theirin lies the rub. I felt like the world police in the Army. I somehow still do and definitely don't want to when it comes to "policing these ranges". The ranges I go to are the ones I want to go to. The infractions happen and in my opinion should be stopped by anyone with enough common sense to see it.
We are preserving our heritige in doing so. We are reminding others that there is a responsibility along with the freedoms we have.
these ranges are getting too few and far in between enough as it is. It is either that or purchase the private land. It is a civic duty to teach others to accurately shoot firearms with the confidence to do so and conduct the art safely.
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Old February 21, 2009, 08:29 PM   #5
dirty magazine
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Quote:
This happened today.

1. Firearms pointed opposite of the target. Too many.
2. Firearms sweeping other people. Too many.
3. Loading magazines behind the firing line alongside the firearm. Posed a tremendous distraction.
4. Approaching the firing line without hearing devices. More than a couple of people.
What do you mean by #3? Is the safety violation that they have ammo and a firearm behind the firing line?

When I reload at the indoor range, I lay the cleared and open pistol on the platform, pointed downrange, and reload at the platform at the firing line. Should I be doing this differently?

Thanks in advance
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Old February 21, 2009, 08:31 PM   #6
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3. Loading magazines behind the firing line alongside the firearm. Posed a tremendous distraction.
If the person is loading the magazine behind the firing line, then he obviously isn't handling a gun, so what is the safety infraction?
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Old February 22, 2009, 01:46 AM   #7
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each range is different.....

Indoor ranges differ from outdoor ranges and one indoor or outdoor range will differ from another.

Indoor ranges usually has motorized targets so typically you don't go cease fire to set up targets. The line is hot and you just simply attach your targets and start shooting.

Outdoor ranges usually have target stands so everyone needs to stop firing so you can put out targets. So, going to the bench when the line is cold is just bad.

It usually takes 3 things for an accidential discharge:
1) A gun
2) Ammo (loaded gun)
3) YOU

Take any one of the three out and you most likely can't make the gun go Bang! Remember all guns are treated as loaded so really it's YOU that is the main part to take out of this equation.


So, now for #3. The violation is not loading magazines but having a firearm behind the main firing line. Some ranges will have two benches. The firing line bench - where you can shoot from and one behind. At these ranges having or handling a firearm is just bad because someone is in front of you.

My argument is this to anyone that thinks they are safe to do this. Let me play with my 400 Corbon behind you. I'm an instructor and safety officer. Do you trust me? Well, you shouldn't and no instructor in there right mind will do this to a student.

Take a lessons learned from our friend the DEA agent firearms instructor a few years back while teaching a classroom full of students. His statement was "I'm the only one in this room that can handle this... BOOM!" Just shot himself in the leg.

So, you have to look at where and what the physical layout of each range is that you are shooting at. Each will have rules specific to that range because of the limitation or layout of the range. Some will be obvious and make sense some you'll have to think about and some simply don't make sense. It's there for a reason - your safety.

If you see a safety violation - you need to step up and as best you can help the other person see the light. Don't yell just let them know. If they continue you need to alert the Rangemaster.
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Old February 22, 2009, 02:03 AM   #8
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I'm an RSO at a popular local indoor range and I see more than my fair share of idiocy.
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Old February 22, 2009, 02:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
I see safety infractions committed on ranges at an appalling rate.
You sure got that right. I want to add a little personal experience to this thread:


I just got through cleaning guns from my latest, and maybe last, public range trip here in GA. I'm joining a private range because I am fed up with with people who refuse to learn/follow safe firearms handling rules.

I shot today at Charles Elliot WMA (Wildlife Management Area) range near Mansfield, GA. It's an outdoor 100yd rifle and 25/50 yd pistol range with covered benches. Saturday is a bad day for the public range (I noticed it's the only day the DNR officer working the range wears his sidearm..) It was extremely crowded, I went to the pistol range because it had the shortest wait. The two worst violations of the many I saw were as follows, with two very different outcomes:

The bench to my left, three guys and a girl, all early 20's age-wise. Ak style rifles, some 1911's, they were rapid firing and having fun, but safe. If you want to burn up $20.00 worth of ammo in 6 seconds, go for it, as long as you are safe. They were. Till the girl got hold of a small auto. (Not beating up on women shooters, just, she was the one who did the following) I'm adjusting my scope, back to the next stall, when suddenly I hear "WHOA WHOA WHOA! Don't point that way!". I glance over my shoulder, yep, pistol pointed straight at my back, loaded & cocked. As I was turning to tell her exactly where I was fixing to stick that little gun, all three guys just laid into her about what she had just done, then apologized to me. Still shouldn't have happened, but they recognized and corrected the situation. Just teach her proper handling before going to the range next time, guys...

Next one, bench on my right. Guy my age (mid 30's) shows up, wife/girlfriend and 3 kids. He's got one of the most complicated home-made target stands I've ever seen, really Rube Goldberg looking. I compliment him on it, we chat for a second, I go back to loading a magazine, looking for more cartridges in the shooting bag, whatever I was doing at the time. Suddenly, I hear screaming from all directions! People screaming "Go cold! Cease fire!" His wife screaming at everyone "Don't shoot! Can't you see he's putting a target up?" This fool had just walked out onto a hot range , with people actively firing to set up a target. Incredulously, he just kept on going and set his target up. The whole firing line was just staring at him and each other, then about everyone explained, some rather rudely why what he had done was wrong. Just after this, he starts pulling pistols from his bag and removing magazines, locking back slides, etc. - all while pointing them directly down the firing line! Everyone just kind of ignores this, I pack up and leave, all the while getting icy stares from his wife. Guess we hurt their feelings.

I'm sick of it. I'm tired of constantly having muzzles pointed at me, hearing "Get some" followed by a 30 round burst into the ground ten feet in front of the firing line, with ricochets whizzing everywhere, accompanied by maniacal laughter. If you want to unload that clip safely in 4 seconds, fine, just let me know. I'll get out of the way so I don't get 30 hot cases poured down my shirt. Read the posted rules, call "HOT" or "COLD", not "ready to go huntin?" Bring a target, or ask me if you don't have one, I'll be happy to give you one. Rocks, sticks, whatever, these aren't targets. They cause ricochets, bring proper targets or just ask for one.

It's a shame, Charlie Elliot WMA has a nice range, but it's very poorly managed. Someone is going to get hurt or killed. Wilson Shoals WMA range is not as nice, but is extremely well managed. No handling of firearms during "Range Cold" is tolerated, none. No loading magazines, nothing.

This is the kind of crap that got most of the public ranges closed in GA. Until recently, most every WMA had a range. People shooting inappropriate targets, (glass bottles, tv's, microwaves, propane canisters (full), etc.), people drinking while shooting, people shooting up all the signs, benches, and other fixtures are what got them all closed; along with all the unsafe behavior in general.

Well that was quite the rant! To be fair, this range is a very nice facility, as are all the state owned ranges in GA, and we are lucky to have them. If you can go through the week, it's a very different environment, but most of us don't have that luxury. Pointing out my own failures, I should have pulled the guy aside from his wife and kids and mentioned the dangers of what happened, and what could have happened to him, along with a general review of the range rules. I feel badly that I chose to leave instead of helping him. Also, I would not have "told the girl where I was going to stick that pistol", I would have just asked her to please not point firearms at anyone, or anything she didn't plan to shoot. I also realize that those who read this post probably aren't the ones who need educated. I have/will help anyone at the range, I've met many great folks at public ranges, and seen/shot many far nicer firearms than I own. I'm also glad to let anyone shoot any of mine as long as they do it safely. However, I'm done with the wild west crap. I get far to little shooting time and it's hard to concentrate on shooting when you're wondering if the person on the next bench is going to put an extra hole in your body. I will and have pointed out safety violations and gotten the range officer involved, but I'm also there to relax and enjoy myself. Having to police the entire firing line is not why I'm there, and not something I feel I should have to do. I will be calling the Department of Natural Resources and voicing my concerns.
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Old February 22, 2009, 08:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
So, now for #3. The violation is not loading magazines but having a firearm behind the main firing line. Some ranges will have two benches. The firing line bench - where you can shoot from and one behind. At these ranges having or handling a firearm is just bad because someone is in front of you.

My argument is this to anyone that thinks they are safe to do this. Let me play with my 400 Corbon behind you. I'm an instructor and safety officer. Do you trust me? Well, you shouldn't and no instructor in there right mind will do this to a student.
The infraction was not stated as handling a firearm behind the line. The infraction was for loading magazines behind the line next to a firearm. If you are loading magazines, you aren't handling a firearm. The reason given for the infraction was that it posed a distraction.

You can play with your ammo all you want behind me, no problem, but not your gun.
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Old February 22, 2009, 10:27 AM   #11
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Thanks for the clarifications. I shoot at indoor ranges with just the bench in front. I've never had the luxury of the second bench.
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Old February 22, 2009, 10:33 AM   #12
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My local range (indoor) requires you to check in and verify your weapon is unloaded until you reach the firing line. The other day, someone came in and pulled his gun out and said it was unloaded. BOOM! Suddenly, there's a hole in the floor.

(Of course, it could be argued that if he hadn't been required to show his gun, then it would have stayed in his bag until he got to the firing line and never would have gone off, but I've never heard of an accident that didn't involve an 'unloaded' gun.)
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Old February 22, 2009, 11:19 AM   #13
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All it takes is one tragedy.

Quote:
If the person is loading the magazine behind the firing line, then he obviously isn't handling a gun, so what is the safety infraction?
Because of the frequency of safety violations I observe. I seen this shooter load his magazines within 2" of his pistol on top of his opened case. Shouldn't he place the pistol on the table at the firing line and load the magazines there?
I should not have to watch him to see if he is going to place the magazine into the pistol.
The first thing I do is observe the range around the firing area. What do I look for? Bullet holes. In the ceiling in adjacent walls in the floor. Lights shot out. All of this have been observed.
There should be a sense of respect when it comes to firearms. What you don't want to see is a tragedy.
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Old February 22, 2009, 08:53 PM   #14
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So it goes to say again....

It takes 3 things for an accident to happen.

1) A gun
2) loaded gun
3) YOU

So, it is a safety infraction in my book as the person may not be handling that firearm behind you but he'll most likely will. This breaks rules #1 and #2

#1 Always treat a gun as though it's loaded
#2 Always have your muzzle pointed in a safe direction

That muzzle is pointed at ... You or someone else.

Loading on a second bench is not the issue. It having a gun out behind others, regardless if they are handling it or not. It's out and it shouldn't be. It belongs on the firing line or cased where a finger or anything else can't get to it.

So, if you do have a double bench range. Only handle (uncase or even touch your gun) on the firing line bench not the back one.

On another note:
When you open your case - where is that muzzle pointed?
If it's not pointed down range - DON'T touch it.
What to do: It's really simple. Close the case, turn the whole case so the muzzle of the gun is now pointed down range, now open the case and now handle your firearm.
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Old February 22, 2009, 09:50 PM   #15
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I tend to agree with the 'no loading at the bench rule' - though very few ranges that I've been to have one, or enforce it if they do. It's difficult to distinguish, from a distance, the guy who's conscientiously loading from others who are handling their firearm. And A LOT of people have the habit of handling their 'unloaded' firearm when the line is cold.


re: public range safety

Several public ranges in PA have been closed due to the sorts of problems that people are describing here. Things just got too hairy. Our public ranges are typically run by our state game commission, and they just didn't have the resources to man a/o redesign these to ensure they were operated safely.
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Old February 25, 2009, 08:07 PM   #16
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I've seen shooters trying to run downrange while it was hot.
Trying to shoot while it was cold.
Unleashed dogs running downrange.
Small toddler run past the firing line.
A rangemaster ND'ed into my stapler sitting on the bench while trying to put the boot back on the trigger of his garage-built racegun.
A shooter trying to wave the flys away from his face, while holding a loaded pistol.
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Old February 25, 2009, 08:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Because of the frequency of safety violations I observe. I seen this shooter load his magazines within 2" of his pistol on top of his opened case. Shouldn't he place the pistol on the table at the firing line and load the magazines there?
Not necessarily or unless it is a range rule. Otherwise, there isn't a safety violation but just something you didn't like. You are just worried it is going to be a safety violation and hence are calling it a violation.
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Old February 25, 2009, 09:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemanspiff
A shooter trying to wave the flys away from his face, while holding a loaded pistol.
You're not talking about Wildalaska's first outing with a Nagant, are you?

While we're at it nit-picking the OP's statement to death on semantics, why don't we take it to a whole new level? Why don't we change rule #1 back to it's original form: All guns are always loaded, not treat them as if they were.

Now we can give credit back to the OP since a loaded gun is now facing the backs of the people on the firing line and eventually it has to be picked up. Then, we can really make this valid as a big distraction.

And THEN, we can roll this thread downhill by arguing the true intent of rule #1 in pragmatic fashion....


I haven't had too many issues at my gun ranges. The indoor pistol range is rather shallow spaced between the firing line and the wall behind us. Usually, there's two people sharing a lane with multiple pistols (guilty) and it gets cozy. However, with the business picking up briskly the past year, the owner has an RO observing closely most of the time. The worst "infractions" I've seen is people giving terrible instruction to new gunowners. I have a real hard time biting my tongue (go figure).

The outdoor range actually invites a calmer atmosphere and open communication is common. IMO, this ultimately invites greater respect for your fellow members' safety.
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Old February 26, 2009, 06:54 AM   #19
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When the infraction are taking place at a frequent rate and you happen to notice more than a few people are more than casual when handling firearms in a busy indoor firong range. You get a hightened sense of being alert. Posting opinions are opinions. A large percentage of the clientele present that day were far from the seasoned gun handlers. Having been in the situation I can't see how an opinion can help explain.
I have had seen tragedies happen before due to the lack of respect for the firearms and the demonstration for it showed quite well that day. All firearms should be up on the firing line and cleared. No firearms and ammunition should be handled together behind the firing line especially without a range officer present. When you have inexperienced shooters present accidents will happen in the form of negligent discharges.
Time works against negligent ranges. Time works against us who should be proper ambassadores when it comes to safe handling.
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Old February 26, 2009, 06:57 AM   #20
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My range is pretty safe, the Range Master has a microphone and gives verbal commands to unload the gun, remove mags, lock open the action and step behind the yellow line. Then he visually looks up and down the line before he turns on the really big flashing red light. Then we can change our targets and not approach the shooting bench. Sounds really safe, but on saturdays all hell usually breaks loose. AD's, ND's bullets hitting ground and the concrete roof. (it is an outdoor range) And just last saturday a yahoo with a jammed & loaded gun trying to clear it while pointing along the firing line. The gun was a 30-06 pistol with what looked like a safe door bolt on the back, if it would have went off several people would have been hit. I calmly told him to point it downrange-spent the next 3 minutes arguing with him. Man some people are just too stupid. This has happened more than once to me, this was just the most recent. Please remember the four rules, we all want to return home in one piece.
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Old March 1, 2009, 08:44 AM   #21
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People really need to spend some time in the field rabbit and/or bird hunting with groups of people and dogs to learn proper gun safety.
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Old March 1, 2009, 06:11 PM   #22
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Public Outdoor Ranges

Are a lot of fun right? sure... I go to one because I don't want to pony up the cash to join my local private range, but I'm getting closer everyday. I like to shoot to improve my marksmanship, lately I've been using my Mosin-Nagant M44 at about a hundred yards, trying to practice my basics and get tighter groups. So, every 5 rounds I like to check my targets, reload the internal magazine, make any adjustments necessary to my weapon or position, and begin again. This has the side benefit of stretching out my time at the range and reducing the cost of ammunition per hour. Unfortunately, many of the idiots who utilize this free, unsupervised public land range (which doesn't even have benches, just an old gravel pit) don't know what ceasefire or cold range means; many a time I am walking the long 100 yds to my stand up target when some jackass starts popping off his "AR'd" 10-22 or 'nine' at targets only 30-40 feet away from me! Of course I always let everyone know that I am heading downrange and request that they check fire, usually after waiting several minutes for everyone to finish their current evolution. They seem to think if they are not pointing 'at me' then I will be safe downrange; funny how they never add up how many rounds they fire and how many holes are in the coffee can when they leave. It's probably because they never check their targets or throw them away responsibly when done, opting to leave them at the site with all their discarded brass.

I have started going on weekday afternoons, and only shooting if I am the only person there or I know the other shooters and respect their shooting discipline. Pretty soon the state is probably going to close the range down altogether, due to dozens of shot up tvs, thousands of unpoliced shotgun shells and brass casings (a huge pet peeve of mine), and millions of potential injuries. I guess then I'll be forced to come up with a couple hundred bucks to join the Evergreen Sportsman's Club... and drive 45 minutes each way to fire off 10 dollars of 7.62x54R.
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Old March 2, 2009, 12:22 AM   #23
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I was done going to public ranges a few years ago. There are half a dozen within 20 min drive, but only one I would go to, and that one closed. My issue wasn't only other shooters doing idiotic things with loaded weapons, but the range officers (not all officers, but enough)who like to play god. Saving empty lanes for their buddies when there is a line of a dozen people who have already paid waiting for a bench; not allowing shooters to pick up brass so that they personally, not the range, can collect and sell it; allowing friends to shoot high power rifles on on the pistol and rimfire only ranges; and kicking me off of benches after I paid and started shooting, because they regular shooting buddy decided to hit the range that day. Between Joe blow sweeping me with loaded firearms and range officers making up the rules as they go, I said goodbye to the public ranges and now head out to BLM or Forest Service land to do my shooting.
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Old March 2, 2009, 12:05 PM   #24
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For all these reasons I belong to a private club where most people only shoot skeet. I go to the pistol/rifle range at 9 am on weekdays and only twice have I ever met someone on the range, and I was packing up both times. People are stupid and I hate trusting my life to stupid people. The $200 a year I pay to belong to the club is well worth accident prevention (assuming I don't blow myself up- then I am just going to bleed to death and die).
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Old March 2, 2009, 01:59 PM   #25
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Swamp Yankee-
I am getting closer and closer to paying up every year... I think the range I want to join is $75 initiation fee, $75 per year and $85 per year if you don't volunteer 2 weeks of range maintenance and supervision. It just sucks because you have to pay it all up front the first time around. It's still better than being shot by a wannabe gang-banger with a MAK-90!
I have recently gotten my girlfriend interested in shooting and I don't want to expose her to all the bad habits and environmental dangers where I shoot now, and I certainly wouldn't want to bring a child there. Also, I would like to have some new shootin' buddies; all my reservist buddies live way out in the sticks so we only get together to shoot couple times a year.
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