by LtCol Willes K. Lee USA (Ret)
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Recently, the Hawaii Rifle Association (HRA) hosted a Honolulu community event which doubles as a fundraiser for shooting activities in Hawaii and a firearms education event.
The Shooting Sports Fair is a two-day event at Kokohead Shooting Complex, a public range in an extinct volcano on the island of Oahu. HRA provides the firearms and ammunition. Guests receive a safety briefing, purchase scrip, and move around the ranges to fire whatever they desire. More expensive ammunition costs more scrip.
Stops included an archery range, Airsoft and .22 for youth. From handguns and rifles of all calibers, shot guns (stationary, trap and skeet), belt-fed semi-automatic rifles in 9mm and .223, to high-powered rifles, adults have myriad choices. Over 150 firearms, from the most modern to those your great grandfather hefted, they’re here.
Harvey Gerwig, HRA President, is in constant motion checking the firing lines and dealing with issues.
“It takes six months to prepare for this event, and we’re pleased to have the whole community participate,” says Gerwig. “We have entire families, law enforcement, collectors, military guys, young folks wanting to see a ‘coolest’ new gun. Several people come here to test one of our firearms before they buy, because you can’t do that at most gun stores. We had a number of state legislators attend and shoot, of course we count on their support for our gun rights.”
Hawaii is one of the most repressive gun states in America, and HRA uses this event to also educate the community about firearms. Some shooters have never held a firearm, some parents are bringing their children for that first-time experience. The more people who understand and are not fearful of guns, the better.
More than 2,000 people of all ages attended this year. The flow was heavier on Sunday, many families celebrating Father’s Day on the range. Kerry is the event guru and is Hawaii’s contribution to the inspirational DC Project (one female representing each state to help educate members of congress about the Second Amendment).
She adds “It takes about 200 volunteers to make this work, we have about 100 each day on the range. Our RSO’s and firing line instructors are all NRA certified. With the planning in place, it takes a week of 18 hour days on the ground to prepare the range and facilities, conduct our event, and put everything back together.”
I shot with the lighter crowd Saturday and, as an NRA Board member, spent most of the weekend speaking with adults and children about their shooting experience. Last year, an Enfield caught my attention. This year, I mixed in shotgun, an FN FAL in .308, .308 AR-10, 7.62×39 Krinkov, and S&W Model 66 .38 Special – all guns I seldom fire. We had a handful of NRA travel mugs and hats which I passed to first-time shooters. And, I made certain to speak to the legislators – this weekend, only Hawaii Democratic Party members who believe in the Second Amendment.
While the fight for gun rights in Hawaii and in other anti-gun states and cities continues, this opportunity to share the shooting sports is welcomed. Gerwig’s HRA Board of Directors work very long hours to make this an annual success. For attendees of all ages, whether or not you hit a target, it is fun, inexpensive, and is a good primer or refresher on gun safety and responsibility.
Saved for last is this comment on the weather: spectacular. You can enjoy the trade winds and shooting again next year on Father’s Day weekend. For those with shooting in all fifty states on your bucket list, visiting Hawaii in June and shooting as much as you want helps to make a great trip. The HRA super volunteers clean the firearms Sunday night while you’re back to sunning and sightseeing. More at www.HawaiiRifleAssociation.org and www.Facebook.com/Hawaii-Rifle-Association.
LtCol Willes K. Lee USA (Ret) is a member of the NRA Board of Directors from Hawaii and Virginia. Lee is a West Point graduate who served 26 years in the US Army as a Defender of Freedom. He is a former GOP State Chairman and RNC member. Willes is the President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, a co-Chairman of the Trump-Pence Second Amendment Coalition, and on the board of the American Conservative Union Foundation, hosts of CPAC. Follow Lee and find more about this event at www.WillesLee.com, Twitter and Instagram @WillesLee and www.Facebook.com/WillesLeeNRA.