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Rick Killion, Published July 20 2009

Shooters can come to learn

Earlier this summer, in June, a ground-breaking was held in West Fargo for a new indoor shooting facility, after more than four years in the planning. I don’t know if all the shooting community is aware of this momentous event, but I would like to add my voice in support of such an organization as the Red River Regional Marksmanship Center, scheduled to open this fall.

My understanding of its potential is that it will be open for shooters of all ages, including those in the community who have a healthy respect for the constitutional right to bear arms as spelled out in the Second Amendment of the Constitution and reaffirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer. While some people would like to see firearms confiscated or registered, the history of civilization indicates that despots and dictators find unarmed citizens the easiest to manipulate, so it seems unlikely that America will become a nation without access to firearms.

In recent years, incidents of mentally unbalanced individuals turning on innocent people in schools, malls, churches and public gatherings have occurred way too often. Only one case of successful intervention has been recorded recently, and that was a woman in Colorado with a concealed-carry permit stopping a man armed to the teeth and prepared to enter a church with evil intent. If someone like her had been prepared to stand and fight, perhaps the carnage would have been halted at Virginia Tech and the shopping mall in Omaha, Neb. (one of the states that has prohibited most residents from obtaining a concealed-carry permit).

Any sane person would prefer a world with less violence and less fear related to thugs and criminals who prey upon the rest of us “sheep,” but reality has, instead, encouraged a vast majority of the states to pass laws allowing responsible citizens to carry some means of defending themselves, their families and the public. Even Minnesota, considered one of the most liberal states in the union, has passed a concealed-carry law that enables people who can pass a background check and learn the laws to obtain a permit.

Therefore, I believe any indoor range open to the public 12 months a year would help those with permits and others who just want to defend their homes to develop skills that would be beneficial to themselves and the community. Assuming local law enforcement agencies would also access the center for tactical training, it might serve everyone well if our officers were even more familiar with the use of their personal weapons in times of stress and danger.

I think anyone who shares these views should consider getting behind the people who are working to make safe shooting accessible to the region. The Red River Regional Marksmanship Center is an idea whose time has come.

Killion, of Fargo, is a hunter and outdoorsman and member of the international Defensive Pistol Association and the RRRMC board of directors. He also is associated with Prairie Business magazine, a publication of Forum Communications Co.