By Peter B. Mathiesen
U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- The State of New York created a challenging environment in which to sell guns during the pandemic. Though most of New York had moved into its third phase of reopening beginning in July, the delays had shuttered many early summer gatherings and organizational outings.
Forestburgh Scout Reservation and Summer Camp is operated by the Monmouth Boy Scout Council in lower New York State. The company Safety in The Crosshairs, located on the summer camp property, maintains all the indoor and outdoor ranges and firearms. It takes care of all the needed repairs and cleaning, in addition to running the shooting sports training programs for the Boy Scouts. The facility also is used by the local shooting public, though it was scheduled to remain shuttered during most of the summer in 2020.
“Back in February, we planned one of the most aggressive NSSF First Shots programs to date for this year’s National Shooting Sports Month,” explained Gillian Kaiser, Safety in the Crosshair’s CEO/CFO. “While the state is not letting our facility fully open in August, we will go ahead and move the entire NSSF National Shooting Sports Month program to September. This will let us reach many sectors of the community that would have a difficult time obtaining the training, which is needed to both learn firearm safety and move ahead with license for handgun ownership in the State of New York.”
New York resident handgun owners are required to complete a handling and study course before residents go before a local judge and ask for permission to own a handgun. That initial training cannot legally allow its students to discharge live ammunition, nor can these non-permit holders handle a loaded gun. The complex possession laws of New York also keep individuals from lending someone a handgun.
Safety in The Crosshairs spent much of the last year developing a training program with the help of Umarex Air Guns to allow pre-permit training with handguns that look, feel and operate much like their firearm counterparts, mostly Glocks and Berettas. The Umarex pistols help with operational coordination, recoil and other aspects of handgun use that can intimidate first-time shooters.
“This program will be a game-changer for us, said Kaiser. “This will be the first time we’ll be able to work with trigger skills, safeties, and target practice in this pre-permit stage of handgun training.”
The partnership between the two companies was cemented at the 2020 SHOT Show. “We had a great meeting with the Umarex engineers. They were supportive and able to suggest the air pistols that would meet our needs,” Kaiser said.
If Not Summer, Then Fall
Last year, 10,000 rounds of .22 LR were discharged during a typical weekend of long-rifle First Shots training. Safety in the Crosshairs ran the full program, and although the Scout camp is not taking place in 2020, the company is continuing to plan for this fall and next year with adjustments to deal with the consequences of the pandemic.
“With the current situation, we’ve seen the need for first-time shooter training to be at an all-time high. This is a critical time for our community to foster new shooters, and demand has never been higher at this facility,” Kaiser said.
Kaiser finds herself continually adapting to New York’s legal system and changing firearm ownership and training regulations. Their company’s commitment to maintaining shooting as part of the Boy Scout experience has helped to fuel a growth in business, and the company is looking forward to September when they will be able to get back to training new shooters and serving its loyal customers in the surrounding community.
About The National Shooting Sports Foundation
NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org.