Industry Group Pledges $100,000 for Program Aimed at Recruiting New Shooters

National Shooting Sports Foundation bumps funding for First Shots program

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The firearms industry's trade group announced this month it established a new $100,000 grant program to help gun ranges introduce new people to gun ownership.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) said the new grant would be used by ranges across the country involved in their First Shots program. The group said the program is designed to provide "a safe, fun and educational introduction experience for people new to firearms." It said First Shots events also help develop ties to a range's local community and bring in new customers.

NSSF describes First Shot events as a place where first-time shooters can receive a "comprehensive introduction to shooting by qualified range operators and instructors that includes firearm safety, local ownership requirements, shooting fundamentals, hands-on instruction and how and where to continue." The curriculum for the events was developed by the NSSF but is administered by local ranges in states across the country. The industry group said the program has introduced thousands of beginners to the shooting sports.

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Ranges can apply for grants of up to $2,500 to help defray the costs of holding and marketing First Shots events. The grants can also be used to pay for equipment purchases made for the event.

Grants will be open to any ranges that want to host a First Shots event. However, ranges that have already hosted First Shots events in the past will receive priority when grants are awarded.

"First Shots is well-established as a program that connects people interested in learning about firearms safety and target shooting with the ranges and instructors in their communities, and it’s proven to not only get these people to the range for their first shots but to keep them coming back," Zach Snow, NSSF director of shooting range services, said in a statement. "We expect this grant program, along with the additional program support we offer our First Shots host ranges, will go a long way towards improving shooting sports safety training, participation numbers and enhancing the viability of our Member ranges."

NSSF's website offers a guide for ranges that want to apply for grants as well as a list of First Shots events currently scheduled around the United States.