Plans have been in the works for several months concerning three new grassroots initiatives to get more people into the so-called “gun community” and to get inactive gun owners involved in shooting in some fashion. Here are the details of this 2-prong approach.
There is a very large segment of our population that typically has little if any positive exposure to firearms, much less the opportunity to learn and safely use firearms for sporting or self-defense purposes. In Texas and throughout the south, this tends to be low income neighborhoods where residents come in contact with guns only when they are victimized. This must change.
The Texas Firearms Coalition is going to launch a community outreach program titled Gun Safety Through Education & Training and the target audience will be those neighborhoods where firearm ownership and experience is low. In many areas, this will be predominantly African American and Hispanic neighborhoods, but the program will not be limited to those communities. Success will depend upon range owners, instructors and experienced firearms owners being willing to donate time, talent, facilities and equipment to this effort. The first step will be firearms safety classes such as the NRA Home Firearms Safety Course, or some variant thereof. This needs to be followed by range time so people can get hands-on experience under the watchful eye of instructors and experienced shooters.
It is not enough to teach a safety class and take people to the range once or twice. We must provide a way for these folks to become active members of the gun community and this too will require support from the surrounding community. Many people in the target audience for this outreach project will not be able to afford to purchase a new firearm. There must be a system in place to provide firearms for use at the range on a temporary basis while they save money to purchase their own gun. Some local businesses in the firearms industry should consider subsidizing such purchases. Obviously, to be successful, this outreach effort will require the investment of time, money and other resources by those of us in the gun community who realize that we must expand appreciation, respect and support for the Second Amendment to communities that have traditionally been apathetic, if not opposed, to gun rights.
The website TexasShooting.com has been converted from a semi-blog format to an online magazine/newspaper with Internet TV in the horizon. The goal is to create a focal point for everything related to shooting in Texas, whether for sporting or self-defense purposes. While there are dozens of relatively popular gun-related websites on the Internet, there is no true focal point for the Texas firearms community. As any experienced marketing expert will agree, the best way to expand a community, industry, market or movement is to have a go-to site, that is a “focal point” where people interested in your subject or activity can see what is happening on a broad scale.
TexasShooting.com will showcase articles of interest to gun owners and potential gun owners that have been written by a variety of people from gun experts to a Mom or Dad who took their kids to the range for the first time. The magazine will also list events such as classes, matches, training classes and even banquets for clubs and other firearms organizations. A major effort will be directed at publishing human interest articles that appeal to a much broader audience. Such articles are more likely get non-gun owners into the fold than are technical articles or those describing matches. The latter type articles are certainly welcome and very useful, so don’t take this to mean they are not welcome.
Advertising will also be available on TexasShooting.com for any person or entity offering products or services related to the firearms community/industry. A registration service will be available for subscribers to post their matches, classes and events and enjoy the benefits of automated online registration and confirmation.
In the coming months, TexasShooting.tv will launch a monthly Internet TV program with interesting and entertaining segments on various aspects of firearm usage, including interview with well-known persons in the gun community. Each segment will include short videos submitted by subscribing clubs and individuals. The format will be much like that used by a very successful group of amateur radio operators hosting HamNation. It’s an informal, light-hearted presentation that has enjoyed significant success in a community that numbers only about 750,000 people in the U.S.
This is a mock-up of the coming site, so the articles are fictitious. The current schedule calls for the site to go "live" on September 15th.