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March 28, 2014

Middle School Students Learn Gun Safety, Marksmanship, and Liberty

By Kurt Hofmann
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Although we hear all too often of schools indoctrinating young Americans against their Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, one can occasionally find reason for hope for our public schools, and for the future of our society. The Pueblo County, Colorado school district provides strong grounds for such hope. Photo by Oleg Volk


Middle school students moved their lesson from the classroom to the shooting range.

It wasn't your typical field trip. A group of students in Pueblo County was firing live ammo and learning about gun safety.

"I'm very excited, today we're going to come out here on the gun range and shoot a little bit. The past week we've learned about the revolutionary war," said Jonah Statezny, a Craver middle school student.

We have almost come to expect schools to teach some watered-down version of the Second Amendment in which the right to keep and bear arms is contingent on membership in a state-sanctioned militia, or on the "certain weapons" a private citizen is allowed to own being registered. We have seen students severely punished for chewing their pastry into the shape of a gun, or for pointing a finger as if it were a gun. Students have also been punished, even arrested, for wearing NRA T-shirts. Now Craver Middle School is moving in the opposite direction, and students will be safer because of it, as two of the students noted:

"I think everyone should learn how to use a gun but learn how to use it properly, and the precautions you’re supposed to take and how serious a gun really is," said Statezny.

"I think they should learn and it's actually pretty good advice," added [another student, Danielle] Cooper.

The connection between gun safety/marksmanship training and Revolutionary War history education might strike some as a bit tenuous, but one must understand that this instruction is provided courtesy of Project Appleseeed, a program run by the "Revolutionary War Veterans Association." Their explanation makes clear that not only was our liberty won by accurate shooting, but our nation's continued freedom may very well depend on our stopping and reversing the erosion of our marksmanship skills:

Project Appleseed is an activity of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, dedicated to teaching every American our shared heritage and history as well as traditional rifle marksmanship skills. . . .

Our heritage program vividly portrays the Battles of Lexington and Concord with the kind of care and immediacy that is absent from most formal schooling. . . . . They are also reminded of the marksmanship skills and masterful organization that ultimately helped set the colonists on the path to success.

To earn the coveted "Expert" rating (which is well beyond the goal of this short field trip), one must be able to regularly hit a man-sized target at 500 yards--without optics or specialized equipment and ammunition:

Participants are taught fundamental rifle marksmanship skills that are to allow a Rifleman to be accurate out to 500 yards, with iron sights, standard rifle and surplus ammo. This is the traditional 'Rifleman's Quarter mile', which is an uniquely American Rifleman skill, that has been part of this nation from the very first days.

For all the stealth bombers, nuclear submarines, helicopter gunships, supersonic fighter jets, and all the other weapons of a military superpower, it is still the rifleman who holds ground. A society with enough riflemen, with enough skill and enough will, cannot long be subjugated by even the most powerful military the world has ever seen.

It is by introducing school children to these concepts, teaching them not only marksmanship, but the vital need for proficiency with firearms, throughout history, and for the future, that we ensure that we as a people remain our government's masters, and not its slaves. Craver Middle School is to be commended, and emulated 1,000 times over.

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For a close-up look at Project Appleseed, view this video

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A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column.



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