First, the kids get classroom instruction where they learn gun safety and how the handgun they'll be using operates.
First, the kids get classroom instruction where they learn gun safety and how the handgun they’ll be using operates. web photo

A summer camp that teaches kids about gun safety and how to shoot? That’s right, and there might be a similar camp around you already.

According to this story from, the grade-schoolers in the Summer Youth League gun camp in Texas do just that and they are part of a growing trend in the U.S.

The kids meet at the Shoot Smart gun range locations in Fort Worth and Grand Prairie once a week for six weeks.

“All of our classes are full at both locations,” said Shoot Smart’s customer and programs manager Cassie Shockey in the story. “They all go through the new shooter class the first day of the league and then they get to go down to the range and shoot. We pair them up, so it gives the kids a chance to try the firearm out in a fun and non-threatening way.”

Too keep things non-threatening, the students work with .22LR handguns. Instructors first teach them how the firearm functions along with the fundamentals of shooting and gun safety, the story says. The kids are then routinely drilled on the safety rules throughout the class—and it appears to stick.

“The rules are always point your gun in a safe direction, don’t point your gun at a person, always have your earmuffs on, and always treat the gun like its loaded,” 8-year-old Hayden said in the story. Hayden was there with his grandfather, Ricky Collins, who said the boy has been shooting since he was 5 years old.

“I was raised around firearms, his dad was raised around firearms and, of course, around us we like to shoot a lot,” Collins said in the story.

But families with a history of gun ownership aren’t the only kinds that come in for the classes.

“We’ve had a few parents come in who have limited knowledge of firearms, but want their children to learn about the firearm safety because there are guns in the house or a family member may have a gun,” Shockey said in the story. “Firearms are also a big part of the culture in the United States. We try to dispel a lot of the myths or misconceptions that kids and parents have.”


Michel Cleveland has three of her four daughers in the summer league.

“My 16-year-old, 15-year-old, and 9-year-old are here,” she said in the story. “Up until 4 or 5 years ago, I was one of those moms. I was nervous about guns. I didn’t let my kids have the little water guns. I was afraid of them, but it wasn’t until I learned how to safely handle a weapon and learn that the weapon is not going to go off on its own. Someone has to pull the trigger. So I just want my kids to be safe, and we don’t live in a safe world anymore.”

For the full story form, go here.