Eagle Scouts learn proper gun safety procedures

December 11, 2015

After six years of collecting badges, volunteering in the community, and serving as a leader, seniors Naman Jindal and Nikhil Parmar recently became Eagle Scouts, the highest possible achievement from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

As a part of the program, Eagle Scouts may participate in an optional gun training session where the boys are taught how to use, prepare, and maintain guns safely.

“It was different,” Naman said. “I mean I have to restate that we were only shooting at targets so it was in a  very safe, controlled setting.”

If a Scout is part of the merit badge program, they can attain badges for shooting either a rifle or a shotgun accurately as well as simply following the safety procedures necessary in using a gun.

“It’s more of learning how to use them safely than [receiving] a badge,” Naman said. “If you’re in a merit badge program than you can get a badge after completing a bunch of gun safety requirements.

Nikhil agreed and said that one of the first things that Boy Scouts learn when using guns is how to safely handle them.

“They teach you all the safety for it first and then they show you how to shoot, so it’s very hard to mess up,” he said. “And there are people whose jobs it is at those ranges to make sure you don’t mess up.”

Nikhil started by shooting at targets in his backyard with a BB gun, which is easier to use as a child. With more training, he transitioned to bigger guns and smaller targets. He now shoots infrequently at shooting ranges and other highly monitored areas.

Recent attacks in the Planned Parenthood hospital and San Bernardino have sparked renewed discourse over the topic of current gun control laws.

Naman explains that being taught how to use a gun has also taught him how unsafe guns can be and the fatal incidents that could occur when guns are used to harm others.

“I mean definitely it is very dangerous and when they do it in the woods, they do make sure it very safe,” he said. “I do think strong laws are necessary because of the danger that can be caused by guns.”

Nikhil agreed that guns can be dangerous in the hands of those without proper training, but said that when used in certain circumstances they can be safe.

“If you are at a shooting range using a gun, there are people there monitoring you there are very strict rules, and in those circumstances I think it is perfectly okay to use it,” he said. “But in wake of recent events, the most recent being San Bernardino, it is always troubling to hear the things people do.”

Gun control legislation will play a large role in the upcoming presidential election, with candidates already discussing their opinions in speeches and through social media platforms like Twitter.

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