Captains Flat club shoots away bad image with safety first

A non-dunctioning 1914 model pistol used in World War I kept as a historical antique.

A non-dunctioning 1914 model pistol used in World War I kept as a historical antique.

SHOOTING may have gathered a bad reputation but the Captains Flats Sports Shooting Club are determined to repair the misconceptions about guns and shooting.

Howard MacKinder, who has been the secretary of armour at the club since it began in 1997, said it teaches core values of gun safety to its students.

"The values we teach are safety first and safety last," MacKinder said.

"We teach them a lot of things to do with etiquette and make sure they are safe with the handling of the firearm."

Not only does he work within the club but MacKinder also conducts fire arm safety tests and courses weekly, which he sees as a community service.

"It's essential ... somebody competent has to instruct the new shooters and I'm quite happy to do it," he said.

"Hopefully I can give them something that will carry them through where they won't make any errors."

Safety tests are needed to gain a gun license and consist of a theory and a practical part.

MacKinder believes these tests are sufficient and needed if done correctly.

"You've got to train them right from the start," he said.

"It's not rocket science but it's the sort of thing that people don't get the gist of until they've actually got the firearm in their hand."

While events in the US have given the sport of shooting a bad name MacKinder believes that most users are doing the right thing.

"For everybody that's out there giving the shooters a good name there are people who are going to spoil it for them," he said.

"It's really regrettable and I don't understand why people that have mental problems seem to have access to firearms in the USA."

MacKinder insisted he would remove licenses from anyone not mentally capable because it is not worth the risk.

With regular classes and testing, the Captain Flats Sports Shooting Club has seen their sport become more popular than ever and MacKinder said they

will continue to focus on teaching safety to its students at all times.

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