With any large organization, a quick glance isn’t enough to tell the story. You usually need to get down to the grass roots, the local and everyday people in the group, to get a handle on what really goes on.
Today we’re talking about the National Rifle Association (NRA), but more specifically the Toad Suck Friends of NRA. That’s local people. They have their annual fundraising dinner coming up Saturday, April 17.
In the big picture, meaning nationwide, the NRA is a lightning rod. Mention the name and reactions are hot or cold. Love ‘em or hate ‘em. The major news media is partly to blame in that it quickly pushes buttons to bring forth NRA’s comments on any issue involving firearms.
We hear NRA’s strong opposition to whatever Democrat is in office as well as whenever somebody says more gun controls are needed. Nobody bashed Bill Clinton more than NRA, and Barack Obama is catching the flak now.
OK, that’s on the national scene. What we’re looking at here are the people around Faulkner County who are involved in this support group called Friends of NRA and who are active in promoting responsible shooting programs for 4-H clubs, the Boy Scouts and school-affiliated shooting sports.
Yes, shooting and school can go together. The trapshooting and archery programs launched by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in recent years have become highly successful. We’ve got a couple of students at Greenbrier High School, Kayle Browning and Wesley Wilcox, who have obtained proficiency enough that they will be in the competition for United States slots in the next Olympics.
Teaching a young person the proper, safe, efficient ways to shoot a gun is extremely important in Arkansas, every bit as vital as teaching him or her how to drive a car. Do you want to argue that a gun is more dangerous than a car?
Get that young person on a firing range after the necessary basic instruction. Put a gun in his or her hands, and it will probably be a .22 caliber rifle. Walk the young shooter through the steps of sight alignment after teaching how to point a gun. Watch as the first shot is fired, then as more shots are fired.
Be sure to watch the young shooter’s face closely when the target is retrieved and inspected and displays one or more holes in or near the bulls-eye.
It takes money to get these shooting programs up and running and maintained. That’s one of the factors involved in this upcoming Toad Suck Friends of NRA dinner.
The dinner will be at the Faulkner County National Resources Center, 110 Amity Road in Conway. Tickets are $30 a person, and several special packages and sponsorships are offered. Tickets can be bought and more information obtained at Jack’s Music Shop, 327-8129; Mack’s Knife Shop, 329-9049; Michael Shock, 329-5651; Ken Fairless, 327-4702; Butch McEwen, 499-0350 and Mark Wassner, 679-7729.
Quite a few door prizes will be given at the dinner.
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Faulty rumors are difficult to dispel.
A current example is about the spring turkey hunting season coming up in April. Yes, there will be a spring season, and it begins Saturday, April 10. We are willing to bet anyone a modest sum that it won’t be canceled at the last minute as was the case a few months back with the fall turkey hunting season.