With increased reports of gun violence, some people believe that only police and military should have access to guns. This would, therefore, imply that they would only learn proficient firearm skills on the job.
I asked my LinkedIn connections who are current/former law enforcement, military, and emergency management personnel two questions: 1) At what age did you first fire a real gun? 2) Who coached you (parent, friend, organized program, etc.)? The responses ranged from age six to 14 and most were with a parent or through a cadet (or similar) youth program.
Gun ranges, clubs and organizations across the country offer a variety of youth and new shooter programs. I introduced a colleague and her son to shooting and then, years later, learned he joined the Canadian Forces and served multiple deployments in Afghanistan. Another time, a neighbour asked if I could take him and his boy out shooting for the first time. I recently heard he is a staff sergeant at a Lower Mainland police force now.
We wouldn’t have expected Mozart, Gretzky, or Sinclair to be as good in their professions if they hadn’t started young so we shouldn’t expect different for our police and military professionals.
Reach out to your local gun clubs and inquire about what programs they have. Not only is the training provided in a safe controlled environment, but also prepares those who decide to move on to future public safety roles.