BY RICHARD HOEFLINGER – To those in the political class, gun control means determining what kind of firearms, if any, their fellow citizens should be allowed to possess. To millions of Americans, however, it has an entirely different meaning. To them, gun control is associated with the safe and effective use of firearms in recreational shooting pursuits.
Target shooting is among the fastest growing sports in the nation, going from 7.7 million participants in 1996 to 34.4 million in 2010. Properly regulated and supervised, it is also one of the safest. Shooting accidents are so rare that no records are kept. A Big Island-based organization is working to keep it that way.
On Target, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose goal is the promotion and support of shooting sports in Hawaii. For the past ten years the organization has laid groundwork to acquire a facility so island residents can enjoy the same recreational shooting opportunities as other citizens.
OTI is currently assisting the State with planning activities for development of the Hawaii Public Shooting Range at Puu Anahulu. The Master Plan and Environmental Assessment for the proposed island shooting complex is scheduled for completion in early spring.
Concurrently, On Target, Inc. is committed to development of educational and training resources to ensure safe and responsible use of firearms. Ten members of the organization recently completed an intensive four-day training program of classroom and field exercises to qualify for NRA certification as instructors in the fundamental disciplines of rifle, pistol, and shotgun shooting.
OTI sponsored and organized the training program under a grant provided by the NRA Foundation. Bill Schwarz, a Las Vegas-based Training Counselor and Shooting Coach, conducted the training classes. Island residents completing the training program were Michael Darden, Kailua-Kona; Matt and Richard Hoeflinger, Keaau; Miles Nakahara, Kailua-Kona; Tiara Ollberding, Hilo; Jim O’Keefe (Shotgun), Hilo; Hans Sin, Kamuela; Tony Sylvester, Hilo; Michael Ventrella, Holualoa; and Don Watson, Hawi.
Richard Hoeflinger is the President of On Target, Inc. With 15 members now holding one or more certifications as shooting instructors, training counselors, range safety officers, and emergency response providers, On Target, Inc. is fulfilling its commitment to provide a shooting instruction resource for island residents, as well as support for future range operations and activities. For further information contact On Target, Inc., P.O. Box 1556, Hilo, Hawaii 96721.