As one of the few ACLU affiliates to affirmatively support the Second Amendment, all of us at the ACLU of Nevada have respect for responsible gun owners, and we often work with gun rights advocates on issues of common concern.
Just the other week, our good friend Robert Johnson from Gun Owners of Nevada invited us to try our hand at shooting. Staff Attorney Maggie McLetchie and I made the trip out to Boulder City and, I’ll be honest, as two people who had never used a gun before, we didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping that I’d at least hit the target!
After a comprehensive lesson on firearm types and safety protocols, we were each set up with a .22 caliber gun. Maggie was up first:
Her first shot was nearly dead center! The guns we used were relatively quiet and did not kick back into your shoulder as we expected they would. After Maggie’s round was done, it was my turn. I was nervous, but I tried to focus on the target and remember Robert’s tips about breathing and properly holding the gun.
Success! My shots were quite close together for a beginner, and as the lesson progressed I became more comfortable holding the gun and reloading the ammunition. For both of us, apprehension quickly turned into excitement about learning a new skill.
We hope to go out again soon with Robert to practice some more and further improve our marksmanship. Given that summer is fast approaching and it gets pretty darn hot out in the desert, I suspect it will need to be an early-morning excursion.
As someone who had never touched a gun before this experience, I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with them under the tutelage of an experienced teacher. As Americans we have the right to bear arms, but we also have a duty to exercise that right responsibly.
The best part? Maggie and I have found a new hobby!
Phil Hooper is the ACLU of Nevada's Program Coordinator and Las Vegas Office Manager.