NAUGATUCK — For women looking to stay on target, the High Rock Shooting Range was the place to be this past weekend.
The High Rock Shooting Association held its third annual Women on Target shooting clinic Saturday and Sunday at the range tucked into the Naugatuck State Forest off of Hunters Mountain Road in Naugatuck. The National Rifle Association-sponsored event is a two-day instructional clinic for women on how to shoot and handle a gun safely.
“The main objective is to teach them about the safety of firearms,” HRSA President Ray Hanley said. “There is no such thing as a bad gun. It’s the bad people using them that gives it a negative outlook.”
The event has been well received in its brief history as the number of participants has grown each of the past two years. The event drew 76 women this past weekend to shoot and learn about a variety of pistols and rifles. Forty-six women signed up the first year and 56 attended last year’s event.
“Our event coordinator, Talla Mrazik, does an excellent job putting this all together,” Hanley said.
Mrazik said in the days leading up to the clinic and she received more than 60 calls from women wanting to sign up.
“Unfortunately we had to turn them away since it was too late to register,” Mrazik said. “We need time to accumulate the supplies needed for all who have registered. But it does give us an even wider base to pull from for next year’s clinic.”
Mrazik was surprised by the diversity within this year’s group of women who signed up to participate. Many women who participated in last year’s event returned this year and several women in their 70s took part in the program as well.
“We did have a lot of women who attended previous clinics but they returned with a different group of friends to introduce them to the sport,” Mrazik said. “But there is a variety of demographics represented in the group. We have mothers and daughters, business women and housewives, along with five women in their 70s.”
The women were paired up with NRA certified range instructors and given training on safety and the proper use of a variety of firearms. Not every woman at the event was a novice when it came to firearms.
“We are seeing more and more women show up for this event that already have their shooting permits,” Mrazik said.
Standing under the portals at the range the women took aim and showed how this clinic has hit the bullseye.
“I think it’s important to utilize our constitutional amendment to bear arms,” Mrazik said. “Considering what happened in Colorado recently people are more aware of protecting themselves. I know legislation is trying to invoke laws that will keep something like [the Colorado shooting] from happening again. But laws will not cure mental illness.”
As soon as this year’s event ended, the association’s attention turned to next year.
“We even have a survey at the end of the clinic and based on the response we can make the event even better for next year,” Mrazik said.
The association sponsors several public events throughout the year including the National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day on Aug. 25.
For more information about Women on Target or future clinics, visit www.highrockrange.com.