Detroit – -(AmmoLand.com)- Firearm instructors and range safety officers from southeast Michigan, along with a cadre of counterparts from 11 other states, recently came together in late August to give free shooting lessons to 1,000 women. The annual program, now in its tenth year of operation, was the brainchild of Rick Ector. Ector is a National Rifle Association (NRA) appointed Training Counselor and credentialed Chief Range Safety Officer.
Ector launched the program after watching a local news story in 2012 in which it was disclosed that a woman was brutally attacked, raped, and murdered. Ector convinced a handful of fellow local firearm trainers to join him in providing free shooting lessons for women. The first iteration of this annual program, publicized solely via social media posts, trained just 50 women.
Over the last 10 years, the program has experienced steady growth. Last year, the program experienced its current high watermark for popularity. In 2020, almost 2,000 women were trained in fundamental firearm safety, given a range safety briefing, and were given a free 20 round shooting lesson with a 9mm pistol in a two-day window.
In addition, the annual training program for women is gaining national attention. As a result, firearm trainers from the following states donated their time to this year’s event: CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, MO, NE, OH, PA, TX, VA, and WI. Ector hopes that his program is used as a model for expanding firearms education to interested women all over the United States.
Last month, during the weekend of August 21st and 22nd, participation fell to 1,000 participants in the two-day event. Ector attributed the change in participation to be due to a number of factors, including the fact that the geographical region is no longer under lock-downs, citizens have a greater choice of activities to enjoy such as the “Woodward Dream Cruise,” firearm inventories are at higher levels in local gun shops, families are now able to enjoy trips and vacations, and parents are focused on their children returning back to the classroom.
Ector plans to move the timing of his annual shooting event to a more schedule-friendly time period in 2022. He feels that attendance will bounce back, as a result. The program was only recently moved to August in 2020 due to metro-Detroit communities being shut down due to Covid concerns.
An event of this size and scope depends heavily upon the generosity of organizational and commercial donors. The following entities were instrumental in making this year’s event a success. Please feel free to contact them and voice your support of their contributions to our annual free firearm training program for women.
- Gun Owners of America (GOA) equipped the event with donated target silhouettes, shooting glasses, and hearing protection.
- Fenix Ammunition of Novi, MI donated 40,000 rounds of 9mm Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) ammunition.
- Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners (MCRGO) donated 20,000 rounds of 9mm FMJ ammunition.
- MCRGO Legal Foundation donated 20,000 rounds of 9mm FMJ ammunition.
Michigan Gun Owners (MGO) donated a sizable donation of bottled water, ice, and snacks to provide comfort to event’s volunteers and participants.
- Top Gun Shooting Sports of Taylor, MI provided free use of its gun range and meeting rooms for two days. It also provided free use of 9mm pistols for women to use during their training. Furthermore, it also catered food and refreshments for event volunteers during the entire weekend event on its premises.
- Recoil Firearms of Taylor, MI provided free use of its gun range and meeting rooms for two days.
- American Tool and Engraving (ATEi) of Taylor, MI provided free use of its 9mm pistols for women to use during their training on the Recoil Firearms premises..
- Firearms Legal Protection (FLP) provided catered food and refreshments for event volunteers during the entire weekend event on the Recoil Firearms premises.
Moreover, conducting a firearm training event of this size requires an adequate number of credentialed instructors and range safety officers to ensure proper training and safety. Safety is always a priority at this event.
This program is indebted to the following trainers and staff – listed with their state of residence – who donated their time and expertise to this year’s training program: Derrick Adams (MI), Lavette Adams (MI), Angela Armstrong (OH), Lori Blackwell (IL), Earl Boone (FL), Darwin Brooks (MI), Monique Brooks (MI), Darryl Burke (MI), Jasmine Caldwell (MI), Deverett Campbell (MI), Rob Campbell (OH), Aaron Cobb (MI), Patrick Collins (GA), Janet Coursey (MI), Craig DeLuz (CA), Kevin ‘KD’ Dixie (MO), Joe Eaton (OH), Dr. John Edeen (TX), Dave Essad (MI), Rhonda Ezelle (IL), John Fleenor (MI), Andre Gabriel (MI), Jamie Gabriel (MI), Dori Goldberger (MI), Chad Gruenstern (WI), Mark Haaseth (MI), Tom Hall (OH), Jermaine Hart (MI), Jamie Headley (MI), Greg Hendrickson (MI), Bryon Hill (MI), Dale Howe (MI), Jim Irvine (OH), CJ Chasefu Jacobs (MI), Steve Lambeth (MI), Taye Land (MI), Matt Lapsley (PA), Nick Laurino (IN), Dana Lupher (MI), Jose D. Morales (PA), Theadro Nelson (MI), Karen Nowell, John Olesinki (IL), Alan Olinzock (MI), Abby Petticord (OH), Candy Petticord (OH), Michael Petticord (OH), Michael Piwowarski (FL), Latonya Poindexter (MI), JR Robinson (MI), Robert Robinson II (MI), Jim Ryan (MI), Stephanie Schafer (NE), Charles LeBron Simmons (MI), Damon Smith (MI), Richard Spight (MI), Elijah Stroughter (GA), Amanda Suffecool (OH), William Thomas (VA), and Karen Vernagus (MI)
Instructors who served as Chief Training Officers or Chief Range Safety Officers are listed as the following: Audree Danielson (MI), Amy Lucas (MI), Will Luker (MI), Raymond Massenberg (MI), Tanisha Moner (MI), and Margie Walden (MI).
Ector is openly inviting citizens and firearm training organizations interested in replicating his event in their own communities to establish communication with him for advice.