Joe Nava’s Shooters’ Corner
Thursdays on KFAR: 11am-12 noon Call Joe anytime: (907) 479-2340
Joe Nava is a training instructor with the NRA here in Fairbanks, who has dedicated his life to teaching people to be safe with firearms. His passion began as a youngster, when he was accidentally shot by his hunting buddy. It didn’t have to happen, and since then, Joe has been telling people the basic rules of gun safety!
During Shooters’ Corner, Joe addresses upcoming events in the shooting community and takes calls from listeners, relating to gun safety, firearms, ammunition, or anything else that has to do with guns!
Joe also advocates gun safety training in the schools, with the Eddie Eagle program.
Listen to previous Shooter’s Corner programs on our audio page.
We’ve had a number of folks ask about the theme song Joe uses. RAGTIME COWBOY JOE is a popular song composed by Maurice Abrahams in 1912. The 1912 copyright version published by F.A. Mills credits Lewis F. Muir and Abrahams as composers and Grant Clarke as the lyricist. It was a number-one hit song for singer Bob Roberts in 1912. Over the years, it has been performed by a diverse group of artists, ranging from Eddy Howard to The Chipmunks. “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” was also the radio show theme song for New York City’s long running Public Radio show, Cowboy Joe’s Radio Ranch hosted by Paul Aaron, New York’s Cowboy Joe. He played many versions of the song dating back to one sung by Bob Roberts from a 1919 78 rpm record. He also played versions by the University of Wyoming. Listen to it on our audio page.
This week on Shooter’s Corner:
Shooting Range Regulation:
No shooting range regulation in the Fairbanks North Star Borough is needed. None should be enacted by the Borough Assembly. Safety and noise are the two reasons given for the recent ordinance being introduced by some Assembly Members.
Let’s be logical and clear. There is no safety issue. Shooting is the safest of all the sports. Just check the Borough records to see where the injuries have occurred on Borough recreational facilities. After about 30 years of operation, how many bullets have left the South Cushman Borough Shooting Range to cause damage elsewhere? I know of none. At the same time, how many injuries have occurred on skating rinks, football fields, soccer fields, softball fields, swimming pools, etc.?
Shooting is the safest of sports. The Fish & Game Range on College Road has been operating for more than a decade with zero injuries from bullets. Safety records do not get any better than that. Safety is not a real issue. Noise is the issue.
The noise leaving a shooting range bothers some people. They think “danger” when they hear gunfire. Noise is not a real danger. It is a perceived danger to some people. When I hear shooting, I think that it is good. I think someone is practicing to be safer and more accurate with their gun. Perhaps it is a class and people are learning. That’s good. The noise is not harmful at a distance.
The simple fact is that the noise bothers some people. To require all shooting ranges to be ½ mile from any abode is a death knell to future range construction. Who can buy that much land for building a range. Where is the data that show bullets leaving shooting ranges and causing damage? It doesn’t exist. It is a perceived danger, not a real danger.
Do not pass regulations to address a problem that is not real. Do not regulate against legal use of private land. We all put up with the noise of cars going by on nearby roads. We put up with all sorts of safe and legal noises coming from private property. Let’s put up with the noise of shooting.
Please do not initiate control of an activity that does not cause a safety problem. Let us exercise our freedom on the land we own.
Joe Nava, NRA Certified Firearms Instructor
469 NRA Lane
Fairbanks, AK 99709
Control or freedom
Do you believe the Fairbanks North Star Borough employees should have the same 2nd Amendments rights you and I do? I believe they should, but the Borough does not.
Borough policy prohibits employees from possessing firearms while at work. There is no insurance reason for this policy. It is proven that the most unsafe places are where guns are not allowed. More guns deter crime and mass shootings.
Lance Roberts has introduced Borough Ordinance 2013-48 which will remove that restriction and allow the employees the ability to possess a firearm while at work. The general public can possess firearms in Borough buildings, but right now the Borough employees can not.
I understand this Ordinance will be up for consideration before the Borough Assembly at 7PM on 11 July. You and I should be there to see who supports it and who does not.
I believe the Borough Assembly is elected to serve the Borough population, not control them. Borough employees are part of that population. Watch and see how each assemblyman votes so you will know whether they want to serve you or control you. I vote for an assemblyman so he, or she, can provide me with needed services at a reasonable price. I do not want to be controlled by the Assembly.
Watch this issue. It may help you decide who to vote for in the next election.
Blaze Orange Safety Vests
From 1948 to 1960 I worked for the Massachusetts Division of Fish & Game at the Philips Wildlife Lab. in Upton, MA. During that time I worked on many, various fish and game projects all over the State. One of the most interesting to me was the project designed to determine what would be the best color to wear in the woods in the fall to avoid being mistaken for a deer, or other animal.
Jack Woolner (now deceased) was the originator of this project. He worked with the Army at Fort Devans to arrange the complete operation. Jack had several vests made out of many colored materials. Each vest was given a number. Army personnel were assigned a vest which they wore as they walked a certain trail through the woods. Other soldiers were stationed in the woods. They were assigned to note the first glimpse they got of any vest moving through the woods. They then made a note of the distance at which they first noticed the vest.
This process went on for many days with many soldiers and many vests. Then all the data was collected and analyzed by Jack and others. There were many colors, about 20 as I remember. I was impressed by a fluorescent green vest which I surely thought would win as the most visible. But it did not. The vest that showed up as the most visible was clearly Blaze Orange. It scored far above all the others.
It was then that the Mass. Fish & Game, and others, began urging the use of Blaze Orange clothing in the woods in the fall during hunting season. Eventually, the use of colored clothing for safety became law in Mass. That was after I had transferred to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
I had, and wore for many years, the Blaze Orange vest that was used in that experiment. Jack gave it to me to thank me for all the help I had given to him in the project. I wore it for many years and it protected me thoroughly. Once I had that vest on I was never mistaken for an animal. It worked. Unfortunately, my home in Alaska burned to the ground in 1993, so I lost the famous vest, but I still wear Blaze Orange colored clothing when I am in the woods during hunting season, even though it is not legally required in Alaska.
While I was working in Alaska I lost one of my workmates, and a good friend, to a hunting accident. He was deer hunting in Southeastern Alaska when he was mistaken for a deer by a member of his hunting party. He was shot and killed. He was not wearing colored clothing. That further convinced me that everyone should wear Blaze Orange clothing when in the woods during hunting season. Be safe! Be seen!
The church shooting, 2015
I must comment on the recent shooting in a church in South Carolina. It is a classic case of the wrong thinking in our Country today. You cannot avoid mass shootings by passing laws against guns. The SC church shooter violated the gun laws to bring his gun into that church. Laws will not stop the bad guys.
It is against SC law for anyone to bring a gun into a church without the permission of the pastor. The pastor of that SC church is now dead, but who was he? The pro-gun media tells us that he was a state legislator when the SC Concealed Carry Law came up for a vote. He voted against it. Therefore, I assume, he never gave anyone permission to carry a gun in his church. That’s sad, and that’s what made the death toll so high. If those 12 other people had been armed they could have shot back and sent the shooter to his just reward without so many innocent people dying.
Mass killings often occur for religious reasons. People in churches must be armed and ready to protect themselves and their neighbors. Take a shooting class. Buy a gun. Practice with it. Become proficient.
Carry that gun to church. Be ready to protect yourself. The police won’t be there.
Remember the lesson from this tragedy. The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Be prepared. Go armed. And, I suggest that they change the law in SC so the pastor cannot take away your second amendment rights when you are in your church.
SHOOTING RANGES IN THE FAIRBANKS AREA revised 04/04/15
University of Alaska Fairbanks Indoor Range, Patty Building, some recreational shooting with an activity card. Contact 474-6811.
University of Alaska Fairbanks Outdoor Range, off Farmers Loop, 100 meters, may be used only by approved range officers on a scheduled basis.
Tanana Valley Sportsmen’s Ass’n Indoor Range, off Airport Road across from Fred Meyers.
The Club meets every 2nd Tuesday. (Range now being rebuilt)
Borough Shooting Range, 400 yards, at the end of South Cushman, unsupervised.
State Div. of Parks Range at 36 1/2 mile Chena Hot Springs Road, 150 yards, 4 shooting benches, always open, unsupervised.
Nenana Public Range one mile south of Nenana on the left of the Parks Highway, 200 yards, 1 shooting bench, always open, unsupervised.
Anderson Public Shooting Range, drive through Anderson and turn left at the river to the range in a nice park complex, plowed out all winter, 200 yards, covered firing points, benches, always open, unsupervised.
Don Bennett Range, East Ramp Road at the Fairbanks Airport, 100 yards for Police use or special shooting functions by approved groups, Contact Airport Security.
Alaska State Troopers’ Range in the basement of the Dept. of Public Safety Building on Peger Road, for Police use only.
Eielson AFB Outdoor Range, enclosed firing points for winter use, Contact Base Commander. Trap and Skeet Range open to the public.
Fort Wainwright Range, 600 yards, approved use only by authorized groups.
Contact, Base Commander. Also Trap, Skeet & Sporting Clays. Public invited for shotgun sports at the base of Birch Hill Ski Area.
Also a 1,000 yard range at the Donnelly Training Center.
Fairbanks Trap Club, 5 Mile Old Steese Hwy, Shotgun only, Wed. and Thurs. night and Sunday afternoon, in summer only.
Fish & Game Indoor Shooting Range on College Road, open to the public on a regular schedule, for a fee.
We have become “civilized”, but we cannot become too civilized. That would be harmful. We are in danger of that now.
Societies that are somewhat civilized continue to hunt. Societies that are too civilized stop hunting. Think about this idea: Civilized people do not kill other living beings. That is the credo pushed by many “Animal Rights” groups.
They are wrong. Being too civilized causes grave problems, such as:
In Germany the Wild Boars have taken over the suburbs because of decreased hunting.
In Nepal an elephant killed 11 people but they will not hunt it because it is protected by an international treaty.
In Great Britain foxes can spread rabies to humans and other animals because they are not hunted and have reached high populations.
In the USA the deer in eastern states have become a serious problem for cars, planes, and flower gardens because they are not hunted. Populations are far too high for their habitat.
Waterfowl are a menace at airports in cities because they are no longer hunted enough to keep the population in check.
The wolf populations are too high in many states because of over protection. That damages the wolf and the prey species, which we depend on for food.
Furbearers are a serious problem in many states because the trapping and hunting of them has been severely curtailed. Beaver are flooding roads and removing forests.
Hunting is necessary for our future. If we give it up we trade our future for what we currently call “civilization”. We will lose all our civilization if we do not hunt and harvest our renewable, natural resources.
Take a youngster hunting!
An idea to support Junior Shooting in the Fairbanks area.
There must be a lot of people in the Fairbanks area who have guns in their home that they no longer use or want. There could be many reasons for this such as:
A widow is left with her husband’s guns.
A shooter has aged and no longer uses the guns.
A gun has become obsolete and has been replaced.
A gun has been inherited and is not needed.
A gun is a problem to store safely with the children who are now in the home.
A divorce has left someone with guns that are not needed.
A shooter’s interest has changed from one gun to another (pistol to shotgun, etc.).
I am sure you can think of many other reasons.
My proposal is this:
These guns should be donated to a central point, reconditioned if necessary, and used or sold for the junior shooting programs in this area. They will be used to promote gun safety and marksmanship for juniors. I plan to get one of the Gunsmith operations in Town to donate the time to do the reconditioning required.
I plan to get one of the firearms dealers in Town to sell the guns not suitable for junior training.
The money will then be used to buy appropriate guns for the juniors.
Any ammunition of any age and any caliber could also be donated.
Some people do not know how to dispose of old ammunition. We can help use it or dispose of it for them.
The recipients will be all junior shooting programs in the area such as (but not limited to):
The 4-H Shooting Sports Program.
Tanana Valley Sportsmen’s Ass’n
UAF Rifle Team
West Valley High School
Lathrop High School
Monroe High School
North Pole High School
Randy Smith Middle School
Hunter Education Classes
Any other school, club or group that trains junior shooters.
The only major problem I see is how to reach the potential donors. We need a catchy name and phrase for the program and a way to get that to the public.
The Central Point could be The Fairbanks Optimist Club, or the UAF Rifle Team Booster Club, or any other group that comes forward with enough peoplepower to carry out the program. It will be better if that central point is a 501(c)(3) organization.
I solicit your comments.
Joe Nava, 479-2340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Occasionally someone is shot by the police. That happens. That’s why the police carry guns, to protect themselves and the general public.
When there is a police shooting some people are too quick to blame the police before they know all the facts. That’s just wrong. Get all the facts and then form your opinion. Don’t go off half cocked. (This is a shooting program and half cocked is a shooting term).
My bottom line is this. The police have the same right to defend themselves as you and I do. You are allowed to use deadly force whenever you believe you are in jeopardy of serious physical injury. The police must have the same right. Don’t fight to protect your right of self defense and then try to take that right away from the police. If you do not want to be shot by the police then do not threaten the police with physical violence.
Remember, get all the facts before you expound on a police shooting. Most are justified.
No more .22 ammo
I have been giving away a 500 round brick of .22lr ammunition in return for a $50 donation to the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Rifle Team Scholarship Fund. I can no longer do this. I have run out of .22 ammo. So far this year I have raised about $15,000 which has been added to the scholarship endowment fund. I have been happy to help my community during this time of ammo shortage. If you wish to make a donation to the scholarship fund, without the gift of .22 ammo, please contact me at 479-2340. I will help you make that donation.
A lady’s first gun
OK! I have had it with gun stores that will sell any gun to a lady without concern for what that lady really needs. I now must talk about this. Too often I have a lady book a pistol class with me because she cannot use the gun she bought. Usually it is because some gun store clerk has sold her a semi-automatic handgun that she does not understand and cannot manipulate. It is not just that she cannot manipulate it safely. She cannot manipulate it at all.
Today many adult ladies are choosing to take up pistol shooting for personal protection or recreation. They have no history of firearms use or knowledge. They do not know what gun they want or need. So, they trust whatever a gun store clerk tells them. Unfortunately, too many gun store clerks do not know how to help the lady make a good decision. Too often the clerk tells the lady she needs the gun that he thinks is best for him. Too often this is a semi-automatic handgun. Wrong!
A person’s first handgun should be a revolver. Why? Because it is simple to understand and easy to operate. All double action revolvers are very much alike. If you learn one, you can safely handle and shoot any of them. Semis, on the other hand, are all very different. You cannot know how to safely handle all of them just by learning one. The dependability of the revolver is what the lady needs for personal defense.
Semis do jam, no matter how infrequently.
Ok, what is the solution? Send the lady to an expert. If a lady decides to buy a gun, she should first take a pistol class from an NRA certified Instructor. She will see and handle many handguns and learn what gun is best for her and the purpose she will use it for. She can then make her own decision about what gun to buy. If you ask the National Rifle Association they will give you a list of Certified Instructors in your zip code area.
I do not mean to denigrate all gun store clerks. Some are very good at this, but many are not. They should tell the lady to take a pistol class and then come back and buy the proper gun. Also, I suggest that the gun stores should encourage their clerks to take the training and become NRA Certified Instructors. Or, at the very least, those clerks should attend the class required to obtain an Alaska Concealed Handgun Permit.
The gun, the ammo, and the person:
The question is how to safely store your guns at home.
Think of it this way. It takes three things to have a gun accident.
You must have a gun, the ammo, and the person, all in the same place at the same time.
Remove any one of those items and you cannot have a gun accident.
Store your guns so those three will not come together unless you intend them to.
Fort Hood again!
I have to speak about the second mass killing at Fort Hood.
After the first one, when a foreigner carried out his plan to kill as many American soldiers as he could, the US President, the Attorney General, and all the Army Brass said they would do everything possible to see that this never happened again.
They did not to anything to prevent the second mass killing.
They spent their effort trying to improve response time in case it ever happened again.
It did happen again. Response time was no better, and the toll of harm was similar in both cases.
They should have put their effort into prevention. Prevention is the key.
All they had to do was erase the “gun free zone” at Fort Hood and this second killing would not have happened. My opinion, of course!
If the Fort Hood soldiers had been armed or allowed to be armed, the killer would have known he could only get off a very few shots before shots were aimed back at him. “Gun free zones” are the cause of mass killings.
The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
Think about it!
The Supreme Court! What did it say?
We, the honest gun owners, have always known that the 2nd amendment of our Constitution affirms our individual right to “keep and bear arms”. The Supreme Court also affirmed that in their June, 2008 decision in the Heller v D.C. Case.
But wait! What else did the Supreme Court say?
The 2nd amendment says our right to keep and bear arm “shall not be infringed”.
The Supreme Court said our right to keep and bear arms can be infringed. That right has been infringed many times in many ways over many years. The Supreme Court is OK with this. They said so in the 100 pages of their decisions.
The Supreme Court said our right can be infringed in three ways.
1) Governments can decide who can exercise that right.
2) Governments can decide where we can exercise that right.
3) Governments can decide with what firearms we can exercise that right.
I read the words, “shall not be infringed” differently than the Supreme Court does. But they are in charge. They make the decisions. So, we must realize that the fight must go on. We must be ever vigilant as to which politicians we elect to public office. They are the “government”. They will decide just exactly how much they infringe on our right to keep and bear arms.
We must study the people who run for government offices. We must vote. We must vote for those people who will protect our firearms freedoms. We must vote against those who would erode our rights by infringing on them even more.
Join the National Rifle Association (the NRA). They will help us understand which politicians we would be wise to vote for or against.
We must be ever vigilant. Never let down your guard. Always continue the effort.
The Thin Blue Line
That’s the title of a 1988 movie. The name comes from a statement made by an attorney during a murder trial of a person charged with killing a police officer. He said that the police are the thin blue line between society and anarchy. That is correct.
The police are charged with enforcing the laws. Anarchy is lawlessness. Without the police there is no law. Anarchy means that anybody with a large group of followers and plenty of firepower can take resources away from anybody with fewer friends or less firepower. It becomes dog eat dog. That is a breakdown of society.
Just look around the world. All over Africa and the Middle East and elsewhere we see examples of anarchy. The common, unarmed people are forced to submit or flee or die in the face of large bands of lawless criminals interested only in their own power. Do you really want that in the United States?
The police do not make the laws. Their job is to enforce the laws. They apprehend the violator. The Justice System decides whether and how much to punish the violator. That is the system which wards off anarchy in the United Sattes.
The police are our friends. They swear to serve and protect the public. They are the thin blue line that answers your call when the bad guys threaten or enact aggression against you. Who else can you call? 911 is a call for help from the only effective help a person has. They separate society from anarchy. Appreciate and respect the police.
Check out this video on why Good People should be armed: Josie the Outlaw
Protect your rights:
Your freedoms are in dire jeopardy at this time in this Country of ours. The latest step to remove your freedoms was just taken by the Senate. The Senate changed the rules so they can confirm judicial appointments by a mere majority of their members instead of the 60 votes needed previously. These judicial appointments, made by the most anti-gun president we have ever had, will certainly be people who think the same way the president does about your gun rights and your other freedoms. Make no mistake about it. These judges are the ones who will decide in the future how much the government can “regulate” your rights.
The Supreme Court (one of the three arms of our government) has said you have the “right” to keep and bear arms. But they also said the government can regulate that “right”. If the government can “regulate” it, it is not a right. It will be eroded, infringed, and lost. If the Second Amendment is lost, all of your individual rights will be gone. And the Constitution will be null and void.
What can you do? Get involved. Vote. Campaign for the good guys. Campaign against the bad guys. Who are the bad guys? The bad guys are those senators who voted to change the Senate rules to make it easier for the senate to confirm the anti-gun judges appointed by our anti-gun president. One of our Alaskan senators voted to change the rules. He is a Democrat. The other one supported your gun rights by voting not to change the rules. She is a Republican. I do not favor either party. I favor those who will protect my rights and my freedoms.
Concentration for shooters:
Concentration is the most important element for the success of a beginning shooter.
During the act of shooting, all concentration must be on the most important of the fundamentals of shooting, sight picture and trigger squeeze. When you are starting a new shooter you must remember this. You must do everything you can to allow the shooter to focus all attention on the task at hand. There must be no distractions.
Over-coaching can be a distraction. Say nothing while the shooter is in the act of firing.
Between shots mention only sight picture and trigger squeeze.
Do not mention a poor grip or poor position or any other fundamental. This will distract the shooter. There will be plenty of time later to discuss position, grip, breath control, etc. when the shooter is not in the act of firing.
Remember this: Your goal is to help the shooter be successful. The shooter needs concentration to be successful. Do not distract the shooter in the act of shooting.
Good luck. Keep teaching, but be patient.
TSA & your Alaska Concealed Handgun Permit:
In the past I have used my ACHP for identification to pass through the airline personnel and the TSA personnel and onto a commercial airliner. I have always been assured by TSA managers that the ACHP is accepted because it is a “state issued picture ID”. That is what the TSA regulations say. I have even had the ACHP accepted by TSA at Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C.
However, this has apparently changed. TSA in Alaska is now refusing to accept the ACHP for ID. I inquired at the top State level. I spoke with the TSA State Manager in Anchorage. He assured me that the ACHP will NOT be accepted. His explanation goes as follows.
Because some state’s concealed carry permits do fill the TSA requirements for ID, and some do not, they have decided not to accept any of them. That way the TSA personnel do not have to know which ones are acceptable and which are not. The TSA Regulations have not changed. They still say that “state issued picture ID” will be accepted. So what changed? I can’t say for sure but I can guess.
Our current Federal Government Administration is very anti-gun. While trying to ban all sorts of guns, they have been making as many changes as they can to make gun ownership more difficult for the law-abiding person. This change by TSA may be just another small step taken by our anti-gun Administration.
The solution? I think it will be fruitless to ask our Federal Senators and Representative to try to change TSA at this time. I believe we will have to change our Federal Government Administrators in order to make TSA follow its own regulations and accept the ACHP as a “state issued picture ID”.
You may now renew your Alaska Concealed Handgun Permit in two ways.
You may renew by mail, as you have been doing all along.
But now, you may also renew in person at any State Troopers’ Office.
You will need four items in order to renew.
A renewal application can be found on the State Troopers Handgun Permits web site.
A NICS Exempt Supplement can be found on the same web site.
Fill out these two items and sign them.
You must write a check for $25 to the State of Alaska.
You must include your picture, similar to the one you used for your original Permit.
You may put these 4 items in an envelope and mail them to the address on the application. Or, you may hand these four items in at the nearest Troopers’ Office.
Your renewed Permit will be mailed to you.
You can only do this for $25 in the 90 days just before your Permit expires.
Don’t let your Permit expire!
Fall hunting season is the time to promise to be safe.
Review the basic gun safety rules.
Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
Always keep your finger off the trigger unless you intend to shoot.
Always keep the gun unloaded until you are ready to shoot.
If you are using your gun for hunting there is one more important rule.
Always be sure of your target and what is beyond.
Be safe out there this fall, and good luck to you.
The Alaska Department of Public Safety is once again issuing permits with the “NICS Exempt” annotation.
An initial or renewal applicant for an ACHP who wishes to have their permit marked “NICS Exempt” must complete and sign the NICS EXEMPT CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMIT SUPPLEMENT along with their initial or renewal application and supporting material.
The holder of an existing valid permit that becomes lost, stolen, or destroyed may request a replacement permit. To have the “NICS Exempt” notation on the replacement permit, the permit holder must complete and sign the NICS EXEMPT CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMIT SUPPLEMENT along with the request for replacement, the $25 replacement fee, and a photograph taken within the last 30 days. The replacement application must be presented in person to an office of the Alaska State Troopers.
Fight back against gun regulation
Now is the time to fight gun regulation by big government. How can you do this?
The answer is: Join the NRA.
The NRA is the most effective organization which protects your right to bear arms.
We must support the NRA so they can be more effective.
Join the NRA.
Now, until 16 April, 2013, you can join the NRA as a LIFE member for only $300.
The usual price is $1,000.
Call me at 479-2340 to get an application for this one time offer, or call the NRA at 1-855-672-2013.
Do it for yourself. Do it for your children. Do it for your grand children.
Do it for your friends. Join any of them for $300 now.
Joe Nava 479-2340
Families are the future of the shooting sports.
All across the United States we hear that the shooting sports are dying. That theme is particularly loud in the big cities of the lower 48 states. We hear that fewer people are hunting. Many organizations are trying to find ways to stop the decrease in hunters. But, I think the answer is not in new programs to get new shooters into our sports. I think the answer is in the family.
Most people I talk to got their start in shooting through a family member, usually a dad or an uncle or a grandfather. Nowadays some get their start from their mother.
If I get an adult person, in one of my beginning firearms classes, who has never fired a gun, that person usually says that no one in the family had guns or shot or hunted. Most of those people grew up in Lower 48 cities where the schools taught them that guns are bad and dangerous. Many come to my classes with a definite fear of guns, any guns. Hunter Education courses are taught by all 50 states and all Canadian Provinces. These courses are not aimed at increasing the number of hunters. They are aimed at making hunters more safe and ethical.
There are many programs out there now that try to increase the participants in the shooting sports. I have seen no evidence of success from any of these programs. That doesn’t mean those organizations should stop trying. They should continue, and perhaps they are slowing the lack of growth in the shooting sports.
You and I are part of the only possible answer I see. We all must be sure to pass on our shooting heritage to the next generations. If you have sons or daughters or grand children, be sure to give them the opportunities to embrace the shooting sports.
There are some families out there, actually quite a few, who do not have a family member to teach the youngsters how to shoot properly. We must reach out to those families and offer to be the mentors for those youngsters.
Ask yourself this question. How many youngsters have I trained to replace me in the shooting sports when I am gone? That is the important question. Make sure your answer is one you will be proud of.
Emergency game season closures
I do not like the emergency closures of game seasons that are being used by the ADF&G. Many of you have called SHOOTERS’ CORNER and said the same thing.
We do not like it because it makes it more difficult for the hunter to plan a hunt, and it makes it much more difficult for the hunter to harvest game. This process also makes criminals out of honest hunters. You can be in the field and be arrested on Thursday for shooting a caribou when you did not know about the emergency closure on Wednesday at midnight.
We have been unsuccessful taking our complaints to the biologists and to the Board of Game.
So, what can we do? We must go to the next level, the Legislature.
The law they use to make an emergency closure is AS 16.05.060. It says, “(a) This chapter does not limit the power of the commissioner or an authorized designee, when circumstances require, to summarily open or close seasons or areas or to change weekly closed periods on fish or game by means of emergency orders.”
I remember this law when it was brand new. I remember it as being intended to take an action in a rare, dire, unpredictable event such as a flood, fire, disease, etc. I do not remember it as being intended for the purpose it is now being used.
To change this we need only to ask out legislators to remove the two words “or game” from this law. If they want to manage the Yukon River salmon fishery with emergency closures, I won’t complain. But, print the game seasons and bag limits in the annual regulation booklet and let them stand.
If you agree, tell this to your legislators.
GUN SAFETY by Joe Nava
It is time to post an article about gun safety. We talk about that all the time. I try to teach gun safety to everybody I can. But the question is: what to teach.
That question occurred to the 4-H headquarters back in the 1980s. They were getting more deeply involved with 4-H shooting programs, in conjunction with the National Rifle Association. After looking all around, the 4-H realized that almost everybody was teaching different gun safety rules. They decided to change that.
The 4-H called a conference at their national headquarters just outside of Washington, D.C. in Maryland. They invited all the units that were involved with guns. All the major gun makers were there, along with the ammunition manufacturers, and the Boy Scouts, Future Farmers of America, etc. About 50 people in all attended that 3 day workshop for the purpose of deciding on the most effective gun safety rules to teach.
I was there as the Chairman of the National Rifle Association’s Junior and Collegiate Committee.
We spent three days working out what we all could agree on as the most effective gun safety rules. The first rule proposed as the “Golden Rule” was: “Treat every gun as if it is loaded”. We worked with that for a while, but soon realized that when you say that to a person you have not taught that person anything. You have not taught that person how to treat a loaded gun, so to tell him to treat every gun that way is useless. He does not know how to treat a loaded gun.
We finally came to the agreement that positive statements must be made. The “Golden Rule” that was accepted by all was: “Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction”. That tells the person what to do. If that rule is followed no one will ever get hurt by a gun.
The second rule was then accepted as: “Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. That rule will eliminate the accidental discharges.
The third rule was: Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use”. That would prevent accidental discharges by someone who handled the gun and did not know how to use it safely.
After these three rules were agreed upon, a further, short note was added. It said: “Treat every gun as if it is loaded”. We could now say that because we had taught how to treat a loaded gun. This did not become one of the three rules.
The NRA has followed these rules precisely, and still teaches them today. They are still the most effective rules to teach to eliminate firearms accidents. They are in all the NRA teaching materials.
Unfortunately, I am now seeing people take on the chore by themselves of determining their own rules. They are different, and usually not as effective. We see 4 rules or 10 rules or different rules. One old one that is still used today is: never point a gun at anything you don’t want to kill. That’s not good for many reasons. The main reason is that it is negative. It does not teach what to do. We must teach positively to be the most effective. That wrong rule also says nothing about target shooting. We do not intend to “kill” anything when we practice our marksmanship toward the Olympic Games.
Anyway, I hope you get the point, and I hope you will always teach the three most effective gun safety rules that about 50 experts could devise. Follow the “Golden Rule” and no one will ever be injured by a gun.
Yes, guns do belong in schools. Let me tell you why. — Opinion by Joe Nava, published in the Delta News, 1999
There have been guns in schools as long as there have been schools. There are good people and there are bad people, but there are no good guns or bad guns. Guns are tools which can be used for good or bad purposes by people. Guns have been used for good purposes in schools for a very long time, and they should still be. Let me make my case. Shooting is a Varsity Sport in some schools. And, it should be for many reasons. Most Olympic shooters get started in a 4-H or Boy Scout or NRA junior shooting program and then get on a High School or Junior High School Shooting Team. If they are good enough, they get a scholarship to a college with a shooting program (like the University of Alaska Fairbanks). After College, the best of the shooters may go on to a National Training Center to prepare for Olympic or other International Shooting competition.
Why is this good for the schools?
Shooting is the least violent of all the school sports. Shooters don’t grab, tackle or check the opponent. They don’t even bump into the opponent. Also, shooting, as a sport, has an unequaled safety record. There are more injuries in Table Tennis than there are in shooting competitions.
The greatest benefit of guns in schools, for the youngsters, is the self-discipline the gun teaches. Shooting takes much self-control. Any high school or college shooter learns this. It takes mental self-control to ignore all else around you and concentrate on the goal at hand.
This mental self-discipline learned through shooting, carries over into schoolwork and life. Shooting Teams in schools are always at the head of their class in academics. Shooting teaches the discipline it takes to excel in school.
I have never heard of a case, anywhere in the United States, of a School Shooting Team Member being involved in the criminal use of a gun. Never has any gun used for a school shooting program been used illegally. This doesn’t happen.
Contact Joe Nava Email OR phone (907.479.2340)