Contenders Marksmanship Pistol & Rifle Club Grand Opening a roaring success

By Steve Loos

On Saturday, May 23, Second Amendment advocates and firearms enthusiasts gathered just east of Lancaster near Rushville, Ohio, to celebrate the opening of the new Contenders Marksmanship Pistol & Rifle Club.

The program got under way at noon. Following a short prayer delivered by Coach Dave Daubenmire of Pass the Salt Ministries, the coach introduced Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America.

Many attendees stood and listened as Mr. Pratt spoke from the stage, while others set up along the firing lines and took in his inspirational words via loud speakers. Pratt touched on the current state of political affairs. Topics covered included Fed level proposed bills such as former Black Panther Illinois Rep Bobby Rush's H.R. 45.

Mr Pratt pointed out Rep. Rush would gladly pass draconian gun restrictions that penalize law-abiding Americans, yet he's quite happy to be part of a congressional envoy to meet the Castro brothers. Pratt quoted the aforementioned Rep. Rush as saying about Castro that "It was almost like listening to an old friend."

Another important issue address by Mr. Pratt is the vital role of County Sheriffs play as the ultimate law enforcement officers in their perspective jurisdictions. This subject was recently covered by Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine on the Firearms Forum radio program, and also in an article covering his appearance at the Geauga Constitutional Council.

Incidentally, there were Sheriffs deputies in attendance at the opening shoot. They were truly at home and are more often then not on our side of the 2A issue. In fact, Contenders owner Mr. Ric Finke has gone out of his way to build a friendly working relationship with local law enforcement.

The conclusion of Mr. Pratts speech with followed with unanimous applause.

The sun beating down wasn't nearly as hot as the MG barrels blazing away. Shooting lasted for several hours despite recent ammo shortages. One minivan and two compact cars fell victim before the guns were silent. Among the many fascinating firearms on the line were AR-15s of every configuration, suppressors, registered machine guns, including FN, FNC, Water Cooled belt feeds, one full-auto Glock, AKM Clones, short-barreled shotguns, a firing cannon and even a canned green bean firing mortar!

The Buckeye Firearms Association banner flew along side the Gadsden flag. Many attendees thanked BFA for the many improvements in Ohio gun law we've spear-headed. As always, the Buckeye Firearms wallet cards were very popular. They are a wonderful guide for Ohio CHL holders.

On that day, Contenders' range was the safest place in Ohio. Despite thousands of rounds fired, no injuries took place. Law-abiding citizens did not become incensed and create mass murder, unless you count the minivan, which was turned into a smoldering heap.

Although the club facilities are certainly still in the early stages, they have the potential to be an excellent organization. Mr. Finke certainly has the willpower and vision to bring Contenders to fruition. If you've ever attended a shoot there, or would like to, please consider buying a membership. Your support will ensure that Contenders reaches it's full potential.

Remember, holding onto our firearms does us little good if we have no place to shoot them (i.e. no ranges to develop our marksmanship skills). While the ODNR's public ranges offer opportunities for the shooting, rapid fire is limited to the quick successive shots, and full-auto is strictly verboten. Private clubs offer individuals the opportunity to safety rapid fire or shoot registered MGs to their hearts content, or the ammo runs out.

The Contenders Marksmanship Pistol & Rifle Club is a private club and is currently accepting memberships. Learn more at their Facebook page.

Steve Loos is the Buckeye Firearms Association Volunteer Coordinator, and a Central Ohio Region leader.

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