Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

NRA grant advances gun program for youths

DSC_6133

CHANDLER MORRILL, 16, of Placerville, shoots an air rifle at a target 10 meters away during the competition. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

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From page A1 | October 01, 2012 | 12 Comments

A program to help local youths improve their gun shooting skills got a boost after it was awarded a $7,900 grant from the Northern California chapter of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Run by members of the American Legion Post 119 in Shingle Springs, the shooting program is in its third year.

Chuck Brasiel said he started the program two years ago when he was commander of Post 119. ”I decided I wanted to teach kids to shoot,” he said.

A local businessman and former competitive shooter himself, Brasiel said he and three others then went about getting certified by the NRA as instructors. The board of directors of Post 119 gave them $1,500 to jump-start the program and the second year gave them another $1,000. He said they used the funds to buy targets, protective glasses, pellets, patches, awards, rifles and target holders.

The program has also received some funding from the local Fish and Game Commission and from fundraisers they have held.

First class equipment

Brasiel said the grant from the NRA foundation will allow the post to take the program to another level because of all the new equipment it purchased.

“It shocked us to get this grant, it was so good,” he said. “We’re really pleased with the NRA.”

According to Chuck Holland, who is the chair of the local friends of the NRA, the foundation doesn’t actually give out money. Instead it purchases equipment for those receiving a grant.

In the case of Post 119, the NRA bought $7,900 worth of .22 Winchester rimfire rifles, pellet rifles, spotting scopes, shooting mats, pellets, targets, ammunition and kneeling rolls.

“And because the NRA gets a considerable discount on its purchases,” Holland said, “it can buy first-class equipment for those awarded grants.”

Holland said the grant process is very competitive. In the 2011-2012 year, their chapter received 52 grant requests and they gave away $250,000. ”These were one of the few guys that got full funding for their request,” he said. He credited its success to the American Legion Post being very specific about what it wanted. “We’re absolutely thrilled to give out junior shooting money. I hope they’re coming back for more next year.”

Holland said his chapter was “the number one dollar producer in 2011 and 2012 in Northern California. We raise money to give away as grants. In 2012 we were the number two fundraiser in California for friends of the NRA foundation. That’s why we’re here. To give money away.”

Aiming high

The shooting program meets every Tuesday night, except the third Tuesday of each month, at the American Legion Post facility on Greenstone Road. The program lasts eight weeks and is open to youths 10 to 18.

While they have classes going on currently, organizers plan to schedule another round once they get the required number of students to sign up.

The cost for the eight week program is $35 which includes receiving a shirt, hat, patches, glasses and a manual.

“Youths don’t have to have someone who is a member of the post to participate,” Brasiel noted. “Our shooters are not related to members of this post. Mostly they are kids from the community.”

Bud Brown, who is currently second vice commander of the post and who helped set up the program, said participants only use air guns and pellets and all shooting is inside their facility. Later, if they pass the training and a written test, they graduate to a .22 rifle. The .22 rifle is only shot at a local range with an instructor present.

There are also competitions that youths can participate in without having to do a lot of travel. Instead they mail in their target sheets for scoring by the host organization. Brasiel said last year their team did well enough to score in the middle of almost 1,000 other teams.

Brasiel, Brown and Holland see interest in shooting programs picking up although less so in California. While many colleges have shooting programs that develop potential Olympics contenders, few California high schools have them. ”Outside of California many high schools have gun programs,” said Brasiel. “But in California, guns are treated as evil.”

That’s unfortunate, said Brasiel, because being an accomplished shooter can help in landing a scholarship or admittance to college. He cited the example of one girl in the class — Raeven Barrett, 17 — who was able to attend summer leadership seminars at the Air Force and naval academies in part because of her participation in the shooting program. He said that experience, plus her training in the shooting program, may eventually help her get admitted into one of those two exclusive schools.

Instructors needed

So far the shooting program at the American Legion Post has attracted a small but loyal cadre of 12 to 13 participants, some of whom are back for a second time.

Taking advantage of shooting program on Tuesday night was Cami Young, 15, from Placerville. “I really love shooting and it’s a good sport for boys and girls,” she said. “The class helps people get familiar with rifles, for home defense, and can help with a military career.”

Shooting with her was Chandler Morrill, 16, of Placerville. In the program for a second year, he said he joined “because it has improved my accuracy, safety in the use of guns, and gun etiquette.”

“We are very safety conscious,” said Brasiel. “We’ve never had an accidental discharge.”

Brasiel said their greatest need right now is to get more instructors and to have them certified through the NRA. He said they will help get people certified, including assistance with fees for the course, if needed.
So far they have relied on word of mouth to publicize the program. “But we need more instructors so we can accommodate additional students,” he said. “We have the facility and the equipment, but not enough instructors since one has to be present when the youths are using the air rifles as well as when they are on the shooting range.”
Shooting ahead

Aside from expanding the number of youths and instructors in the shooting program, Brasiel, Brown and Holland have additional plans for the future.

Holland said he hopes to give more money to the American Legion Post so they can help get a similar program up and running in Auburn. He encouraged those interested in setting up programs and applying for funding to contact him at 530-622-6500 or through the NRA’s Website.

Brasiel and Brown said they would eventually like to set up a ROTC program at one or more local high schools. But for now, their primary focus is on expanding the number of youths participating in the shooting program and finding more instructors for it.

Youths interested in signing up for the classes or adults interested in being instructors should contact Brasiel. He can be reached at 530-642-0300.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 12 comments

  • David MorrillOctober 01, 2012 - 10:25 am

    The American Legion Jr. Shooter program is a wonderful opportunity for any youth interested in learning more about Olympic style air rifle competition shooting, firearms, gun handling and safety, and being around peers that make shooting fun. I know, I'm a proud Jr. Shooter parent. I recommend this program whole heartedly, and coming out to see the program work is the best way to check it out. Except for the second Tuesday of each month, the Jr. Shooters meet at 6:30 pm every Tuesday at Post 119 on Greenstone.

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  • Jim RiordanOctober 01, 2012 - 10:51 am

    Way to go Guys. Great training helps prevent tragic accidents and helps sift out those who should not handle firearms . . .Our community should be very proud of your efforts and the results. I sure am.

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  • Patricia WhiteOctober 02, 2012 - 7:48 am

    This is great for our kids to learn responsibility and safety. I think every high school in America should have a shooting team.

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  • Mark CutlerOctober 02, 2012 - 9:56 am

    Just what we need - more kids with guns.

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  • Edh MomsOctober 02, 2012 - 10:09 am

    Two Key Gun Owners Endorsements Go to Judge Warren "Curt" Stracener: An extremely heated email string has been going on behind the scenes questioning Judge Stracener's NRA Endorsement. We now have the endorsement letters from both the California Gun Owner's Campaign Committee and the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund. Both can be found by clicking on the text links. Additionally we have obtained a clearification statement from the NRA specifically explaining their endorsement of Stracener over Hoffman. NRA about the Stracener endorsement: "Judge Curt Stracener, an incumbent El Dorado County Superior Court Judge seeking reelection this year, has received an "AQ" rating and endorsement from the NRA-PVF due to his responses to our candidate questionnaire. Based on those responses, Judge Stracener is a solid pro-gun/pro-hunting candidate who will support the Second Amendment and uphold the rule of law." "In contrast, his opponent, Joseph Hoffman received a "C" rating from the NRA-PVF since he indicated in his responses to our candidate questionnaire that he supports licensing of all handgun owners." "For these reasons, Judge Curt Stracener has received the NRA-PVF endorsement for reelection to Superior Court Judge in El Dorado County."

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  • Ken SteersOctober 02, 2012 - 10:54 am

    Thanks Chuck! I didn't know the Bailey's lived in Eldorado Hills?

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  • Chuck HollandOctober 02, 2012 - 2:11 pm

    @edhmoms, posting your political rant in this article is an all time low of disrespect. You owe the JR. Shooters an apology and should call the Mt. Demo immediately and request the rant removed. Its obvious the Stracener campaign is desperate and will stop at nothing in their despicable campaign.

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  • Edh MomsOctober 02, 2012 - 3:16 pm

    I think this opportunity for children is wonderful - as long as there is proper supervision and instruction. I just thought it wonderful that they support each other. Stop making every issue about you and me.....stop attacking everyone! You are fanatical to the point of being blind to other's opinions, beliefs, or preferences.

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  • Jim RiordanOctober 02, 2012 - 3:33 pm

    Chuck Holland is neither fanatical nor blind. Congratulations JR. Shooters.And to Mark Cutler, Yup, more kids with guns and the proper training at a young age to use them respectfully and responsibly . . . exactly what the founders of this great Country suggested.

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  • To edh momOctober 02, 2012 - 7:10 pm

    Did you read the article before you posted ?

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  • Mark CutlerOctober 03, 2012 - 11:53 am

    To Jim Riordan: This country was also founded with slavery recognized in the Constitution. But times have changed. This is not the frontier anymore. I still prefer kids without guns.

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  • Connie RoodApril 26, 2013 - 11:01 pm

    I think this is a great program geared towards education and safety with kids! I would love to volunteer my time and /or resources to continue this endeavor. I too have a 12 year old son who is perfect for the program too. Please have someone contact me if they would please. PS. Did I mention I'm already a certified NRA instructor

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