In the fall semester of 2015, several construction management students had an idea for a club not seen on the JBU campus before: a club where students can learn how to use firearms, practice recreational shooting and possibly even enter into competitions with other schools all over the nation.
With this idea in their minds, a faculty sponsor and a club constitution, these students approached the Student Government Association, and JBU’s shooting sports club was born.
Dedicated to the knowledge and skills surrounding firearms, the club exists not only as a way for students familiar with firearms to practice their skills, but also as a place to educate students who may not be familiar with firearms.
“The purpose of the club, as far as for JBU, is to get a broader feel of shooting sports to others, where if there’s people who want to be involved or get into it, they have the access of doing it,” sophomore William Garringer, the club’s safety officer, said.
One of the major focuses of the club, especially regarding the knowledge of firearms, is safety.
“Whenever you have a new member come on, we make sure whether or not they have background knowledge on firearms. They have to take an exam on it, where it’s what are the firearm safety laws, what is basically common sense with firearms,” Garringer said.
“Safety’s a big deal, obviously. We talk about that all the time, and everyone in the club had to go through the safety orientation that we did,” Mark Terrill, the club’s faculty sponsor, said.
The other things that shooting sports offers are recreational shooting and competitions.
Recreational shooting is simply going out to a shooting range and practicing your skills with firearms.
Competitions, however, are a more in-depth matter. “There’s a couple of different ways we can do competitive teams, with pistol and shotgun. But at this point, we’re trying to work up to that. So right now it can be someone only comes by once a month, or they want to be on a team and practice every week,” Terrill said.
Currently the club offers pistol competitions, which involves using a pistol to hit targets within a certain amount of time, and shotgun, where the competitor fires at clay disks that are launched across a range.
While the club is small, it is growing rapidly, with about fifteen members that are currently a part of shooting sports.
In time, members of the club hope that it can grow to be something a bit more widespread and enjoyed around the JBU campus.
“I’d like it to include several other shooting sports areas, such as rifle accuracy, and just being able to expand in terms of number of people involved and the amount of information that can get to everybody about firearms,” said freshman William Stroo, who joined the club this year.
“It’d be really great if we got to the point of a state school. Like, Oklahoma State University, for example. They do massive competitions and they go nationwide. Now, granted, JBU is a smaller school, but that would be awesome. I want people to join the club and get used to firearms, and I want people to leave with it knowing that this is a great experience,” Garringer said.