Clinic aims to educate women on guns

High Rock Shooting Association instructor Dave Mastrianna helps Nicole Braman of Wolcott, a first-time shooter, during the association’s second annual Women on Target shooting clinic last weekend. KEN MORSE

NAUGATUCK — The High Rock Shooting Association held its second annual Women on Target shooting clinic last weekend. The event, sponsored by the National Rifle Association, is a two-day, instructional clinic to teach women how to shoot pistols and rifles.

Fifty-six women in all made their way to the High Rock Shooting Association, nestled in the confines of the Naugatuck State Forest, for the clinic.

“This is a great turnout,” said Talla Mrazik, event coordinator. “Last year we had a one-day event and signed up 46 women. This year we extended it to a two-day event which allows our instructors to have a more one-on-one time with each group.”

There is a natural curiosity towards firearms that comes with the glamour of western movies with Clint Eastwood taking on the bad guy. There is the allure of the carnival shooting galleries with the tin ducks lined up in a row and prizes to be won.

There is also the other end of the spectrum when it comes to guns—a natural fear that guns are dangerous and are a key element to criminal activity.

The main of goal of the weekend clinic was to place all of the emotions elicited from guns into the proper perspective.

“There is a general fear among women that guns are dangerous,” Mrazik said. “This program helps to alleviate that fear and introduce them to the sport of shooting.”

Several of the women had pistol permits and had been acquainted with the shooting before but, for the most part, many had never shot before.

Marissa Rodriguez of Wolcott attended the event with several of her friends and was a little apprehensive at first.

“This was my first time and I really didn’t know what to expect,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll admit I was a bit nervous. But after the first round I loved it. It was so exhilarating. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to hit the target but on my last shot I actually hit the bulls eye. It was an awesome experience and I would definitely go again.”

High Rock is a non-profit organization that gives back to the community. Last year, the club donated the proceeds from the Women on Target event, $1,800, to the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation.

“We plan on doing the same thing this year,” Mrazik said. “But we haven’t identified what organization we will be donating to. … You would be surprised how hard it is at times to donate money once people find out you are a gun club.”

For more information on the High Rock Shooting Association visit www.highrockrange.com.