Shooting locations

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Shooting locations

Postby jordanbrown » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:39 pm

The new Shooting Sports Manual (#30931, http://www.scouting.org/filestore/Outdo ... 931_WB.pdf) says on page 12 in its section "Level 2: Rifle Open Shooting Experience":
---
Range. A BSA-approved range or a public or private commercial range or club for air rifle or cartridge-firing rifles. For air rifle, a portable range, shooting trailer, temporary safety enclosure, or public or private commercial range or club may be used.
---

Our local Council shooting expert interprets this to mean that shooting must now be only on an established range.

That rather throws a wrench into our annual trip to the desert to go shooting. (Before you ask: in an area where shooting is legal, with appropriate supervision, et cetera... just not on an established range.)

I tried asking for a clarification in a comment on the Scouting Magazine blog entry on the SSM, but never got a response.

Has anybody else run into this interpretation of the SSM? Has anybody gotten a clarification from National?
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby FrankJ » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:26 am

Register a Venturing crew and take them hunting?

You need two NRA registered people on the range to begin with. With them doing their jobs, you will be safe. The problem is convincing your local council. I would try to find some one on your councils shooting sports committee to help with the correct interpenetration of the manual. Maybe set up ground rules for creating a temporary BSA approved range?
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby wagionvigil » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:49 pm

A functioning Range which meets the NRA standards must be used for All shooting sports. That means no going out in a field etc and shooting cans etc. I can see a violation of this causing major problems if found out.

"Shooting bottles & cans and there is a RSO & Certified Instructor there to watch the activity does not work. Shooting must take place on a safe range with proper supervision (current RSO + Certified Instructor of that discipline)".
this is from someone that help write the new rules
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby FrankJ » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:18 pm

Is shooting bottles and cans any different than shooting deer or dove from a safety stand point? Granted shooting bottles would not be correct from a LNT stand point. At Philmont they let my scouts (not venturers) shoot 30/06s at objects they placed on the range. Is the NRA position the only safe place to shoot is on an established range?

I am assuming that a NRA trained range officer could evaluate a proposed shooting location including down range hazards. Either make a judgement that it could be done safely or not. I know my mother could. (Not that I am suggesting you use my mother rather the required NRA folks.)

I do realize rules are rules and people write rules have other motivations than just safety. I am not advocating that you break the rules just trying to find a way to work within the rules.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby wagionvigil » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:45 pm

Logs or things done at Philmont will he changing
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby FrankJ » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:13 pm

Logs or things done at Philmont will he changing

Why?
If you are speaking of shooting. It was done from the prone position with two NRA certified instructors watching. A lot safer than the drive from Denver to Philmont.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby FrankJ » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:29 pm

Back to the original point. If you want to take your scouts shooting within the rules & assuming you have the 2 required NRA instructors available. You need to find somebody how knows the right people to talk to in your council. Ultimately it is your council that interprets the policy. That person might be the DE or your unit commissioner. It could be your NRA instructors already know somebody. That is typically a fairly small community.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby jordanbrown » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:48 am

The question is only about allowable sites; we think we understand the supervision requirements. (We also understand the limitation to .22 rifle and shotgun.)

It is only the "BSA-approved range or a public or private commercial range or club" requirement that is in question - actually, the question is whether that line is intended to be a requirement or if that section is intended to be an example of a shooting event.

The SSM is new to our council, so all we've got in the way of interpretation is the first impression. If the intent is to require that all events be on an established range, so be it... but if that wasn't the intent, it would be nice to know so that our options aren't limited by an overly conservative interpretation. My troop is not the only one that stands to lose a popular shooting event.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:35 am

jordanbrown wrote:The question is only about allowable sites; we think we understand the supervision requirements. (We also understand the limitation to .22 rifle and shotgun.)

It is only the "BSA-approved range or a public or private commercial range or club" requirement that is in question - actually, the question is whether that line is intended to be a requirement or if that section is intended to be an example of a shooting event.

The SSM is new to our council, so all we've got in the way of interpretation is the first impression. If the intent is to require that all events be on an established range, so be it... but if that wasn't the intent, it would be nice to know so that our options aren't limited by an overly conservative interpretation. My troop is not the only one that stands to lose a popular shooting event.

The answer was given to you buy someone involved in the writing of the rules. I believe Clark made it pretty clear.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby FrankJ » Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:02 am

Who writes the rules & who decides how they are interpreted & enforced are two different people. That is up to the shooting committee & safety committee at your local council. The council is the voice of the BSA for your typical BSA unit. Not a voice from the internet no matter how well informed.

The question is not can you go shooting on some random piece of dirt. Clearly you cannot. (Unless you are hunting) The question is what does it take to set up an approved range? Does it need to be a permanent facility? Does it need insurance? Does it need a business license? Who needs to inspect it? Can a NRA RSO approve it? Ultimately your council will give the final answer to these question. The best you can hope for from the internet is advice.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby jordanbrown » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:43 am

Yes, of course voices from the Internet are not authoritative. However, they may have encountered the same question before, and they may know the right people to ask. I was referred to Clark Guy. I'm not sure of his exact position, but he seems to be high up in BSA's shooting organization. (His LinkedIn page says "Shooting Sports Director at Boy Scouts of America".)

Here's an edited version of our conversation (with the original question above elided):

---

JB: Is this the intended interpretation of this section? Are shooting
events required to be at established ranges, or is shooting at an "ad
hoc" range (where it's legal, with NRA RSO+instructor) acceptable?

CG: It is not clear in my mind what you are deeming an "adhoc-range".
Shooting bottles & cans and there is a RSO & Certified Instructor there to watch the activity does not work. Shooting must take place on a safe range with proper supervision (current RSO + Certified Instructor of that discipline).

JB: What we've done in the past is to drive out into a BLM area where target shooting is allowed, find a spot with a good hill as a backstop, set up targets (both conventional paper targets and less conventional books, toys, balloons, et cetera, but nothing glass or with a face or human- or animal- like), set up a firing line, and with appropriate supervision and instruction shot at the targets. When done, we'd police our brass and pick up the remains of the targets.

In the past, "appropriate supervision" seemed to mean an NRA-certified instructor/RSO; it's now clear that it would mean a discipline-appropriate instructor and an RSO, two separate people. That part isn't the question; it is only the nature of the site that's in question - a temporary range that we set up for the afternoon, not an established range.

Does that make the scenario clearer?

CG: Yes, I believe you would be fine.

A suggestion.......after setting up this range on BLM land, take several photos of the range. If questions come up after, you have something to show as to what the range looked like.

But as you know your council has the final interruption.
---

So now it's back to our council.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby FrankJ » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:52 pm

Sounds like he is the one to talk to. :) The internet is good resource for ideas on how to solve a problem, just have to take in the spirit it is offered. You can even get referred to the right people. Sounds like you are on the right track. Good luck. :)
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby jordanbrown » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:10 pm

OK, more (non-)information. My council shooting person did some more research. It seems that I misunderstood Mr. Guy's position - he's a Shooting Sports Director, which means that he's trained and authorized to run shooting sports at a camp. He's *not* a big cheese in National policy.

She *did* talk to a National Big Cheese, who *was* involved in writing the manual... and who in the end said it was up to local council discretion.

That's pretty frustrating, because one of the primary reasons for publishing the SSM was to standardize rules across the country.

But oh well. It's on the top of the agenda for our council's newly formed shooting sports committee. They'll come up with a rule, one way or the other.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby wagionvigil » Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:08 pm

Actually Clark is a Big Cheese and teaches shooting sports at camp schools. He was involved in the Writing of the new rules.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby wagionvigil » Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:22 pm

I find this whole thread interesting. On several Fronts. BSA sets rules for many activities not just shooting sports. These rules are there to protect the youth, the leader and the council. Yet scouters will keep making phone calls and writing letters until they get the answer they want. This is true in Climbing, Aquatics and even Cub Scouts. Most Paid professionals are really not up on program. many people in council volunteer positions are not up to speed on changes to the rules in their area of responsibility.
here are the New rules for "Insert Activity here" they are in Black and White. Follow them do not try to find a way around them. Rules are actually not made to be broken or bent as it may be. Sure your council can say go ahead but make sure they will back you when it hits the fan. Go ahead and shoot pistols with the troop even though BSA says Venturing Crew members only! It is not a safety thing for pistols but something that is reserved for that part of the BSA.
Go ahead and rappel with the cubs even though it not a real safety issue but a program issue.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby jordanbrown » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:19 pm

I don't mind following rules, but I don't want to be bound by excessively paranoid interpretations of those rules. For instance, part of this discussion had an experienced Scouter telling me that shooting was allowed only if the entire event (that is, the entire campout) was devoted to shooting with no other activities planned. (He interpreted the rule that said "specifically planned for shooting" to mean "exclusively planned for shooting".) Pointing out the agenda for the shooting campout in the Troop Program Features book helped with that problem.

While I would certainly like to get the answer that I want, what I really want is for somebody authoritative to answer "yes" or "no" questions based on knowledge of the intent of the authors, rather than saying "I think it means ...".

If the answer is that it's the local council's discretion, OK, though that itself should be made clear so that the council knows that it *has* that discretion.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby FrankJ » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:49 pm

If you ask your professional a honest question & don't ambush him, you should expect a correct answer. If he doesn't know it, he should know where to get. If he gives a bad answer, the council is negligent either in selection of the professional or education.

Scouting started as a grass roots bottom up kind of organization. It lets the individual units use the strengths they have and tailor their program to that. The big brother knows best theme we seem to be going towards is a bit scary. Especially as conflicted as big brother seems to be. :twisted: The whole concept of these are the rules & don't dare suggest a better way reminds me of bad parts the public school system. (I am a strong believer in a the public school system BTW)

The answer really is not is at the local councils discretion. But your council is the official representative of the BSA. They have a phone & can get clarification & adaptation with national if need be. Their job really should can we find a way to do your activities safely. Not how many ways we can say no.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby fritz1255 » Wed May 23, 2012 12:20 pm

I am an NRA Instructor, and have functioned as instructor or range safety officer a few times for my Troop. While I am not generally in favor of draconian interpretations of BSA policy, no way would I take them to an ad-hoc range simply because of the liability issue. Every range we go to, I call ahead to make sure they are fully insured. You can buy individual insurance policies to protect you, but I don't have one and don't plan to.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby FrankJ » Wed May 23, 2012 8:30 pm

So do you advocate hunting only on a fully insured range? Hunting is an allowed Venturing activity. Allowed troop activity as long as youth are not involved? In terms of safety I expect hunting is a lot more dangerous than shooting on a properly set up ad hoc range. Just asking.

If you doing a shooting activity as part of a BSA program, the BSA has liability coverage. So if you have your council's approval, the ad hoc range would be covered.
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Re: Shooting locations

Postby fritz1255 » Fri May 25, 2012 8:07 am

Does hunting with a Venture crew require two NRA-certified instructors? Just asking...... When and if I am ever asked to officiate at an ad-hoc range, I will bring the question of liability insurance to the local council before I agree to do it.
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