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Never fired a shot? Local gun club invites you to give it a try

For the first time ever, Algoma Rod & Gun Club is holding a National Range Day event on June 1

Though the Algoma Rod & Gun Club has been around for decades, the organization will soon be holding a "first time ever" event for those curious about the sport of shooting.

The club will be one of many across Canada marking National Range Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 1 at its location on Connor Road.

The event is separate from other events the club holds each year.

“It’s an event where all the ranges across the country have an open house event for the public on the same day. It’s family friendly and it’s just to get anyone who hasn’t shot a gun before to come out and safely try it and learn about the sport,” club volunteer Alex Forsey told SooToday.

Members of the public will be able to try shooting with a handgun, long range precision rifle (large and small calibre) and shotgun sports in Five Stand and Trap formats.

Five Stand and Trap both involve shooting at clay pigeons.

Shooters move around and shoot at clay pigeons from different angles in Five Stand while Trap shooting involves firing from the same position.

The event is open to all ages.

“We’re leaving it up to the parents to decide. We don’t have a set age. Anyone that’s not licensed is going to have a certified safety officer arm's length away from them to help them out. It’s up to the parents to decide how young they can go,” Forsey said.

A minor age 12-18 can get a Minors firearm license with written approval of their parents. Once they turn 18, they can apply for a full adult possession and acquisition license. 

Each shooter at the June 1 event will be provided with protective shooting glasses, ear muffs or ear plugs.

“With our usual gun show we don’t have to do much advertising because people know when and where it’s going to be but we want people to know this is a new event and it’s going to be happening every year going forward,” Forsey said.

Anyone will be able to visit the club’s property and watch for free but Forsey said those taking part will pay a fee of five dollars to cover ammunition costs.

It will be a non-profit event.

Forsey emphasized that Canadians are responsible gun owners.

“Firearms have been a part of Canada’s heritage before Canada was even a country. What we’re trying to do is demystify the sport and not make it scary for people who are interested in trying out something new and don’t know where to start and don’t know where they can safely take part, so this event is really just about a safe space where people can come out and safely try it out. If this grows the sport then we’re doing our job.”

“We shoot for a score, and it’s just a challenge to yourself to get a little bit better. You keep score of how many clay pigeons you can shoot and keep on improving. It’s a personal challenge. I’ve never shot at a living thing in my life. I only shoot paper and clay. I’ve been shooting since I was eight, starting with a pellet gun. It’s fun,” said club member Karen Morin in a conversation with SooToday in 2021.

The Algoma Rod & Gun Club was incorporated in 1950 and has been located on Connor Road since 1960.

The club has 280 members with an average of five new members per month, Forsey said.

“Every week we’re doing new orientations. We have eight new members so far this month. The club is growing. People are embracing the sport. Shooting at a range is safe.”

Licensed gun owners are regularly vetted. 

“Our names go through the RCMP databases regularly to make sure that we’re still legally able to own our firearms. We’re not scary people and it’s a friendly community to be a part of,” Forsey said.

There are 2.3 million licensed gun owners in Canada.

For more information on National Range Day on June 1 or the Algoma Rod & Gun Club, Forsey can be contacted via email.

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Darren Taylor

About the Author: Darren Taylor

Darren Taylor is a news reporter and photographer in Sault Ste Marie. He regularly covers community events, political announcements and numerous board meetings. With a background in broadcast journalism, Darren has worked in the media since 1996.
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