To keep the youth of Hall County from shooting their eyes out, Sherman Pass shows them how to handle, know what to expect from, and how to be safe with their new Christmas BB guns.
Pass taught a 4-H BB Rifle Gun Safety Class Thursday night at the Chicopee Woods Agricultural Center.
The class was for children who may have received BB guns and rifles for Christmas or the hunting season, said Judy Tilford, an agent for Hall County 4-H. Thursday was the first time the class had been open to the public.
"We’ve got a lot of children out there with firearms," Tilford said. "Education and training will make them safe and responsible owners and operators."
Learning gun responsibility is the first step to becoming a target shooter.
"I can’t imagine giving a child a target weapon without offering them skilled training," Tilford said.
At the class, Pass told his students the importance of treating their new guns with respect, and gave them the basics of BB gun safety.
"This is not a toy," Pass said. "You can put
your eye out."
Sean Niles and his 12-year-old daughter, Hannah, attended the class with their new Remington air rifle. Sean Niles, of Lula, said target sports could be a way for him to spend time with his daughter, who is a cheerleader.
"I don’t get into cheerleading," Sean Niles said. "Other than riding the four-wheeler and chasing donkeys around the pasture, we don’t ever get to do nothing."
But safety comes first with the Niles’ new hobby, as it does with 7-year-olds Bud and Wyatt Abercrombie, who received new BB guns for Christmas.
"It’s very important for them to learn the difference between a toy and a learning tool," said the boys’ father, Bryan Abercrombie.
Bryan Abercrombie said one day he hopes to take his sons hunting, and the boys are looking forward to it.
"I want to shoot a bear," Wyatt Abercrombie said. "But the bullets would have to be humongous."
For now, the Abercrombie boys will stick to shooting targets.