The Column, No. 24:
A Plea to the Boy Scouts
I'm a Boy Scout, and I love being one. I'm currently a Life Scout and plan to get my Eagle within a reasonable time frame. I also love that the Boy Scouts have a shooting program; it's what introduced me to the world of firearms. It also teaches Scouts the importance of gun safety.
However, there is a major problem: the Boy Scout shooting programs don't prepare Scouts for shooting in the real world. The strict regulations for the rifle shooting merit badge guarantee that only .22 rimfire, bolt-action, single-shot guns get used from the bench rest position at a range of 50 feet. In reality, this only prepares you for exactly that. There is a black powder option, but I have yet to see it in action for the merit badge itself. The shotgun merit badge is not quite as far in disrepair, but it still needs work.
The rifle shooting merit badge used to be a lot harder. It used to require different positions and a true show of skill. Nowadays, most everyone passes the course with ease. The problem is that it doesn't prepare Scouts to shoot in the real world.
I have a number of requests for the BSA shooting program. For the rifle program:
For the shotgun program:
For the black powder program:
I do not think that these requests are unreasonable. In fact, they would vastly improve the Scout shooting program.
So please, Boy Scouts of America, make your shooting program worthwhile and teach Scouts how to use a firearm in real life, not just on a 50 foot range!
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