June 4, 2022, was the first annual National Range Day. With the average media article lately related to the firearms community being pointed towards the elimination of this past time, a group of people from this group decided that the other side of the coin should be shown. For the last few months a push has been building from within to exemplify what the real face of the firearms community is. To this end National Range Day was conceived, where many ranges and shooting clubs would open their doors to the public and show any willing to come out who we are and how we practise our chosen disciplines.
With a few months of planning and a group of dedicated volunteers we were able to put on an open house that showcased the best of what the East Grey Hunters and Anglers Association has to offer. With a wide variety of both firearms and non-firearms related equipment guests had the opportunity to try out six different disciplines: both large and small caliber rifles, pistol, shotgun specifically Trap, air rifle, and archery.
Over the seven hours of great weather there were almost 50 people come through from all over the area. Some having seen advertisement posters, other just passing through and seeing the sign out on the road. Some local businesses came out and set up shop for the day as well. A big thank you to the Outback Woodshack and Crystal Dragon for giving our guests some additional enjoyment between rounds on the range.
Watching first time shooters come to the range is always a special treat. Seeing them walk up to the bench with hesitation or fear, having only known firearms through Hollywood or news media, then watching them take the first few shots and the inevitable giggle or grin that creeps across their face is a wonderful moment. A lot of people still see the firearms community as an outlier group with a sport that need not exist, but after a few minutes on the range most people are asking about how to get a license and get started into these sports. With everything from the fast action IPSC pistol shooting, to the relaxed and focused long-range discipline, or even our archery program with its 3D nature walk course. There is a lane for almost anyone.
For a first go at National Range Day we considered June 4 a success to us. Watching people of all ages, races, sexes, and backgrounds show up and have a great time was the result we were looking for. With next year’s National Range Day being June 3, we have already started planning to deliver an even better experience for anyone wanting to come out and experience the shooting and archery sports for themselves.
Adam Vaughan, EGHAA Secretary