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View Full Version : Convincing gun club to allow wind flags to be placed like BR matches do.



370bc
03-20-2015, 05:47 AM
I would like my local gun club to allow wind flags to be placed as used during BR matches.
I am a range safety officer at my club. How can I go about convincing the club's e-board to allow this to be done in a safe manner?
What steps are there to follow? This club is not a BR club where I am at. They are very basic and are generally opposed to new ideas. I would have to make a clear and convincing case in order for them to change the rules.
Thank you for any suggestions on how I can go about this.

Dick Grosbier
03-20-2015, 11:47 AM
I am not sure just what you are asking here? Are you talking about wind flags to be left in place all the time?
I personally like that idea and helped get it done on my home range. Then the problems began. I am a proud gun owner and avid BR shooter. But it pains me to admit to being in the same group as some people who also apparently belong to the clubs I belong to. It is a cold hard fact anything you put on a rifle range will get shot up. It is what you call an attractive nuisance. I am certain 99% of my fellow club members are very safe in the way they handle their firearms, unfortunately there seem to be a couple of bad apples in every barrel. Example #1 years ago we had a 22RF silhouette range and we had swinging targets on the end of each berm to practice with. Idiots with high power rifles blew holes completely through the targets until they were totally useless. At least in this situation there was a berm behind the target. Example #2 a friend made two fine range flags to leave out on the range. Knowing about the previous situation we place the flags off the left edge of the range so they could be seen but not shot at. Well actually they should not have been shot at but this did not stop the yahoos, not only do we get lots of holes in the tails of the wind flags but we started getting bullet hols in the camper trailers which our club has stored a couple of hundred yards behind the flags. We now have one remaining flag and a large berm behind it to protect the camper storage area. None of this should happen obviously anybody caught doing this will be summarily booted out of the club but over the last 25 years I have seen it happen again and again.

Dick Grosbier

6mmBR
03-20-2015, 11:53 AM
+1 to the above !! I just put mine up when I go to the range. Some folks get upset because it takes me longer to get back to the firing line than they think it should. The range I shoot has red flashing lights anytime the all clear is called to be able to go down range, so at least in doing made it safer. It used to be you went to the 200 yard target board (out of sight from the 100 yd line) they would start shooting before you returned from putting your targets up !!!

Dusty Stevens
03-20-2015, 12:03 PM
I have found that if the powers that be dont understand the need for flags they are against their use.

Roger T
03-20-2015, 12:22 PM
I have to echo what Dick Grosbier said. Our range tried flags/spinners/gongs and it seems that SMALL percent think they're there to shoot-up (really sad). It seems unless you have someone standing over their shoulder watching 100% of the time it's gonna happen. We've (the club) prosecuted and banned people ,but you need proof/witnesses and we have a volunteer staff so not 100% coverage.

AMMASHOOTA
03-20-2015, 03:38 PM
I have to echo what Dick Grosbier said. Our range tried flags/spinners/gongs and it seems that SMALL percent think they're there to shoot-up (really sad). It seems unless you have someone standing over their shoulder watching 100% of the time it's gonna happen. We've (the club) prosecuted and banned people ,but you need proof/witnesses and we have a volunteer staff so not 100% coverage.

I am an RSO out our private club and I have had to stop people from shooting at propane tanks at 10 yards (he said it was empty). They shoot the crap out of steel target stands that are buried in the sand, as well as expensive plate racks with armor piercing ammo.

Our maintenance costs are quite high.

tim
03-20-2015, 03:59 PM
I am an RSO out our private club and I have had to stop people from shooting at propane tanks at 10 yards (he said it was empty). They shoot the crap out of steel target stands that are buried in the sand, as well as expensive plate racks with armor piercing ammo.

Our maintenance costs are quite high.

If you have any kind of decent membership, consider a small investment in a couple cameras for the line. Those and a few signs that state anybody shooting at improper targets or destroying any club infrastructure will be summarily tossed.
Guarantee your issue will be reduced.

B.Larson
03-20-2015, 05:18 PM
Only seasoned shooters realize the need....... that lets out more than 75% of the people in most clubs.My home club has 950 members,80 acres and 6 or 8 disiplines.I have made painted and installed 3 different sets on out main range over the years ( 30 )..... In 2 weeks they are intentionaly shot to hell....
GOOD LUCK.......

AndyTaber
03-20-2015, 05:52 PM
It would seem the consensus is: permanent flags NO, so do as we do at our club and bring your own flags while shooting and take them down when done. We have the same problems as everyone else, if it is on the range, some idiot thinks he should shoot it.

Wilbur
03-20-2015, 05:54 PM
If you're asking how to get your "range" to allow you to place flags and then remove them when the range is called cold...I think that would be easy enough. If you're asking to place permanent flags, then as stated above - don't bother.

Why would anybody care if you placed flags and then removed them when you left?

Andy types faster than I do!

zippy06
03-20-2015, 07:45 PM
Local cops shot up our burn barrels(3), one Friday. The club member that was supposed to watch them didn't show up. And 2 of the cops were club members. They got a "wolf pack mentality".
That's why when one cops shoots they all shoot Or they all get to go play golf the next day......
I put out a couple of wind flags one day. About 8 guys were shooting. Most left before I was done. Someone shot one.....Now I don't put them out or don't go to the range on weekends.

Slowshot
03-20-2015, 09:41 PM
At my home club, Tacoma Rifle and Revolver (in Tacoma, WA) we set out wind flags all the time on the high powered range, as well as the rimfire range. The club does not supply wind flags and any member bringing wind flags is responsible for setting them up and taking them down, before leaving the range. Wind flags are set and taken down on a cold range just like targets. I see no way a shooter can practice precision shooting without wind flags. I would not be a member of a club that did not allow them.

I have never heard of anyone intentionally shooting at a wind flag at any of the three clubs where I have regularly shot over the past decade . Anyone caught intentionally destroying club property (or another member's property) at any of those clubs would be banned from the range for life, police officer or not. I am very disappointed to read of police officers showing such a despicable disregard for private property.

At TRRC and the other clubs where I have been a member, there are sign in and sigh out sheets at each range, with dates, times and member numbers. I am the kind of guy who would stick out his neck and be at the officer's station the next day reporting the incident with time, date and names.

None of my clubs allow members to bring in unapproved targets or their own target stands. If some one wants to shoot unapproved targets, he or she needs to go find a gravel pit.

Roger T
03-21-2015, 01:50 AM
If you have any kind of decent membership, consider a small investment in a couple cameras for the line. Those and a few signs that state anybody shooting at improper targets or destroying any club infrastructure will be summarily tossed.
Guarantee your issue will be reduced. BTDT guess what happened to the cameras? 2 stolen 1 shot. We gave the Sherriffs dept passes so they can "cruise through" on occasion it's helped somewhat. The club does have a Honeywell security gate (micro-chip card) that tells when you enter and leave and that's logged into the computer,BUT because of "gate" delays (open-close) it allows follow through traffic and this is where (the club believes) some of the issues are coming from.

Boyd Allen
03-21-2015, 11:58 AM
Over the years, I have come to believe that letting people just pay their money, and sign some forms to join a shooting club is at the root of the problem. Having seen a number of what seemed to be good fellows on the firing line, breaking one or more safety rules, right after they had joined, I have come to the conclusion that something more than having people read rules and sign a form that they agree to follow them is required. There is a learning issue involved. Toward that end, I am thinking of writing a script for a video that will among other things demonstrate the dos and don'ts, and discuss the reasons for the rules.

All of the ranges that I belong to have made a transition from worrying about having enough members to pay their bills, to having plenty of members, and in some cases, IMO, too many. Under these conditions, I think that the message needs to be sent that, if necessary, some weeding will be done, and beyond that, I think that being able to join needs to be a bit more involved than showing up, relatively sober with the money or a credit card. Also, I think that there needs to be a mandatory reorientation for renewing members, as onerous as that would be, viewing a video at the minimum. One thing is for sure. Having folks simply read and sign isn't getting the job done, and just like in the old days when paddling was allowed in schools, making an example of a few, can have quite an effect on the rest.

370bc
03-21-2015, 09:19 PM
I agree that more needs to be done. I work in an extremely dangerous and volatile line of work. Extreme temperatures, poisonous gases, flammable material, etc. We have daily safety meetings. We review our job work sheets on a job by job bases. We evaluate each task separately. Our safety record is one of the best in the country.
I think members should have to watch a safety video each and every time they use the range. We are talking about x amount of minutes. Not that much. The human critter needs to be reminded time and time again. It's just how our brains have evolved. Distractions of marriage, work, relationships, or anything else that can make you loose track of the safety task at hand must be controlled and eliminated.
The Benchrest Rifle Club of Saint Louis has a ID card reader for unlocking the gate to the club. Once that was installed, the destruction and vandalism of property ended immediately. I use to be a member there, but I found it too far to travel on a regular bases. But they have it figured out. Very professional.

Bill Wynne
03-21-2015, 10:11 PM
At the San Angelo Gun Club we require an orientation class at the club each year before we issue membership cards and keys. This takes about one hour and it is well accepted.

Most people probably think like me. I don't think I need the orientation but I am glad everyone else is taking it. We had a retired doctor who is a life member show up at age 100 and sit through the orientation.

This is the third year we have done this and there are fewer ricochets heard and the range is much cleaner.

The orientation is working for us.

Concho Bill

AMMASHOOTA
03-21-2015, 10:15 PM
If you have any kind of decent membership, consider a small investment in a couple cameras for the line. Those and a few signs that state anybody shooting at improper targets or destroying any club infrastructure will be summarily tossed.
Guarantee your issue will be reduced.

We have the signs. Means nothing. If we put up cameras, we would have to put up cameras to watch the cameras we put up.

We cancel the membership of anyone who wantonly disregards the rules or general gun handling safety. I hat to be dismissive or defeatist, but there isn't much more that we can do. I personally walk all of the bays every time I am at the range, and will talk to people to help them improve their safety related skills.

Like most ranges, we are all volunteer.

Bill Wynne
03-22-2015, 08:09 AM
We have the signs. Means nothing. If we put up cameras, we would have to put up cameras to watch the cameras we put up.

We cancel the membership of anyone who wantonly disregards the rules or general gun handling safety. I hat to be dismissive or defeatist, but there isn't much more that we can do. I personally walk all of the bays every time I am at the range, and will talk to people to help them improve their safety related skills.

Like most ranges, we are all volunteer.
Urashooter,

We had the same problem you are describing at our range and I can tell you that our annual orientation is helping.

We stress ownership to the members. We stress that this is range belongs to the members. The idea is working. We see members cleaning their mess and more.

We have several dumpsters and lots of plastic barrels around the range. We have several volunteers who empty the trash barrels and, quite often, we will see members using their pickups to carry trash barrels to the dumpsters.

A group of us retired shooters will rebuild the target backers a couple of times a year. We notice that when the target backers deteriate, we see more cardboard boxes laying around. If they don't have something to shoot some people will create.

Could it be that Texas shooters are naturally neater than California shooters. I think not. We saw a problem and we are addressing it as a club.

Concho Bill

Slowshot
03-23-2015, 03:41 AM
One thing I really liked at my previous home club (Poulsbo Sportsman Club) was that there was always a safety officer present. The club did not open without a safety officer and was closed, when the safety officer left. There was after hours shooting but that also required one of those present to be an experienced club safety officer. Our safety officers were very active, walking up and down the line, watching how the shooters were following (or not following) safety rules and even giving tips on safety measures that might not have been club rules. Anyone failing to follow the safety officer's instructions was subject to being ejected from the range for a day and even up to being banned for life, if there was a serious infraction. Minor infractions such as crossing the safety line when the line was cold would result in a warning but could escalate to ejection if repeated after a warning. The safety officer had the authority to eject any member or guest at his or her discretion. In five years as a member there I never saw an incident where the safety officer abused that authority. That was back when I was shooting regularly two to four hours a day, three or four days a week.

I will always remember seeing and hearing a safety officer walk up to a bench, look down and say, "I see so many violations here, I don't know where to start." I was new to the club. I had seen what the shooter was doing and was glad to see the safety officer take such a direct approach. There were drawbacks to the layout of the ranges and there were never enough benches on the rimfire range but I always felt safe there. Sometimes I heard paying guests and even members complain about all of the rules. I was always pleased to see such a person collect his gear and leave in a huff.

Sure we had a list of rules that each member or guest had to read and initial but it was the presence of a safety officer with absolute authority that kept everything going along smoothly. I went through the safety officer training but found acting as a safety officer boring. I realized I would much rather be shooting than watching others shoot. It gave me great respect for those who were willing to give up their shooting time for a measly $5 an hour off their yearly dues. Our safety officers worked one or two four hour shifts per week. No one did it for the money. They did it to keep the club operating.

One of the first differences I noticed, when I joined TRRC, was the general absence of a safety officer's presence. I also noticed how many long time members showed a casual attitude toward such rules as staying behind the safety line while the range is cold and even handling firearms when the line is cold. Still, I cannot imagine anyone at TRRC shooting at another member's target much less wind flags or club property.

You would think we were all adults but it seems that most people need some kind of an authority figure present to keep them acting like adults. What a pity!

Hunter
03-23-2015, 09:58 AM
I will always remember seeing and hearing a safety officer walk up to a bench, look down and say, "I see so many violations here, I don't know where to start."!

That reminds me of a RSO (who was enamored with his status) calling the line "cold" and then walking over to a guy who was shooting a .45 ACP at the bench next to me and telling/showing the shooter how much of an expert on the gun he (the RSO) was -- even picking up the gun and doing some demonstration with it while guys were downrange. I looked at the RSO as he was doing that and said, "If John Q. Public was doing what you're doing you'd climb down his throat." He looked at me like he was clueless.

Hal D.
03-23-2015, 11:49 AM
One thing I really liked at my previous home club (Poulsbo Sportsman Club) was that there was always a safety officer present. The club did not open without a safety officer and was closed, when the safety officer left. There was after hours shooting but that also required one of those present to be an experienced club safety officer. Our safety officers were very active, walking up and down the line, watching how the shooters were following (or not following) safety rules and even giving tips on safety measures that might not have been club rules. Anyone failing to follow the safety officer's instructions was subject to being ejected from the range for a day and even up to being banned for life, if there was a serious infraction. Minor infractions such as crossing the safety line when the line was cold would result in a warning but could escalate to ejection if repeated after a warning. The safety officer had the authority to eject any member or guest at his or her discretion. In five years as a member there I never saw an incident where the safety officer abused that authority. That was back when I was shooting regularly two to four hours a day, three or four days a week.

I will always remember seeing and hearing a safety officer walk up to a bench, look down and say, "I see so many violations here, I don't know where to start." I was new to the club. I had seen what the shooter was doing and was glad to see the safety officer take such a direct approach. There were drawbacks to the layout of the ranges and there were never enough benches on the rimfire range but I always felt safe there. Sometimes I heard paying guests and even members complain about all of the rules. I was always pleased to see such a person collect his gear and leave in a huff.

Sure we had a list of rules that each member or guest had to read and initial but it was the presence of a safety officer with absolute authority that kept everything going along smoothly. I went through the safety officer training but found acting as a safety officer boring. I realized I would much rather be shooting than watching others shoot. It gave me great respect for those who were willing to give up their shooting time for a measly $5 an hour off their yearly dues. Our safety officers worked one or two four hour shifts per week. No one did it for the money. They did it to keep the club operating.

One of the first differences I noticed, when I joined TRRC, was the general absence of a safety officer's presence. I also noticed how many long time members showed a casual attitude toward such rules as staying behind the safety line while the range is cold and even handling firearms when the line is cold. Still, I cannot imagine anyone at TRRC shooting at another member's target much less wind flags or club property.

You would think we were all adults but it seems that most people need some kind of an authority figure present to keep them acting like adults. What a pity!

I've been a member of clubs with, and without RSO's present at the ranges. At one of them, the range was gated and locked, so no one could even get to the line unless an RSO was there. The other has several different rifle/pistol ranges on the property that are open to members whenever they wish to shoot, no RSO's. The first example was shot up on a daily basis. My brother in law is still the head RSO there now, and spends most of his time repairing all of the stuff that gets shot up. The other example has few problems with members shooting the place up. Whats the difference? The first example costs $150 to join, and annual dues of $150/year. The latter costs $3500+ to join, and annual dues of $450. I'm no rich guy, and $3,500 was hard for me to part with at the time, but I was fed up with the yahoos at the other range. The point is this: When you have some real money/time/work invested in anything, you are more likely to treat it well, unlike when something is offered for little or nothing.

Slowshot
03-23-2015, 06:40 PM
That reminds me of a RSO (who was enamored with his status) calling the line "cold" and then walking over to a guy who was shooting a .45 ACP at the bench next to me and telling/showing the shooter how much of an expert on the gun he (the RSO) was -- even picking up the gun and doing some demonstration with it while guys were downrange. I looked at the RSO as he was doing that and said, "If John Q. Public was doing what you're doing you'd climb down his throat." He looked at me like he was clueless.

That would be the last day of RSO duty for that guy, at any club where I was a member. In fact, that would be the end of his membership. No question, no appeal. Who are these people anyhow? What ever happened to common sense?

Slowshot
03-24-2015, 01:08 AM
It was a state-operated range and a state-paid RSO.

"We are the government." "We're here to help." " Just follow our orders and everything will be fine.":p

lesloan
03-27-2015, 03:49 PM
If you have any kind of decent membership, consider a small investment in a couple cameras for the line. Those and a few signs that state anybody shooting at improper targets or destroying any club infrastructure will be summarily tossed.
Guarantee your issue will be reduced.

How do you keep them from shooting up the cameras?

LHSmith
03-27-2015, 04:10 PM
How do you keep them from shooting up the cameras?

Same way they catch thugs robbing stores, they are caught on videotape. As long as they don't find the video recorder you got a physical description and hopefully a vehicle description. Cameras worked the nuts for our club. We even have one above the shooting benches to find who forgets the gun is loaded as they pick it up to leave.......now they can pay the price for causing the hole in the roof (eternal banishment). The "roof cam" in combination with the range cam can show who's the #%$ of a $@&#% that paste targets over the damn posts.

Slowshot
03-27-2015, 04:26 PM
The point is this: When you have some real money/time/work invested in anything, you are more likely to treat it well, unlike when something is offered for little or nothing.

That theory only goes so far. I have frequently seen people, with more money than sense, buy expensive firearms, boats, motorcycles, etc. and then with no training, no experience or understanding of rules of safety head out to the woods, the firing line, the lake (with a boat load of alcohol) or anywhere where they can endanger others. I spend a lot of my available cash on fine firearms and other passions*. I am not rich and could not afford to join your club but I am also not a fool. Unfortunately, there are a lot of self absorbed fools out there, with no respect for the rights and safety of others.

* In addition to firearms I have ridden motorcycles for decades and lived on a sailboat for many years. Believe me, I have seen enough rich fools get in way over their heads to understand an old play on words, "if you're so rich, how come you are not smart."

muley
04-14-2015, 02:24 AM
Over the years, I have come to believe that letting people just pay their money, and sign some forms to join a shooting club is at the root of the problem. Having seen a number of what seemed to be good fellows on the firing line, breaking one or more safety rules, right after they had joined, I have come to the conclusion that something more than having people read rules and sign a form that they agree to follow them is required. There is a learning issue involved. Toward that end, I am thinking of writing a script for a video that will among other things demonstrate the dos and don'ts, and discuss the reasons for the rules.

All of the ranges that I belong to have made a transition from worrying about having enough members to pay their bills, to having plenty of members, and in some cases, IMO, too many. Under these conditions, I think that the message needs to be sent that, if necessary, some weeding will be done, and beyond that, I think that being able to join needs to be a bit more involved than showing up, relatively sober with the money or a credit card. Also, I think that there needs to be a mandatory reorientation for renewing members, as onerous as that would be, viewing a video at the minimum. One thing is for sure. Having folks simply read and sign isn't getting the job done, and just like in the old days when paddling was allowed in schools, making an example of a few, can have quite an effect on the rest.

My experience has been that it's the non members than tend to cause problems. Sometimes it's unbelievable how low the skill/knowledge level is with non members, fortunately our ROs run a tight ship. On the high power side of the range ive seen 50 yds targets shot from the bench where the bullet holes are randomly spread all over the tgt backer, like a piece of Swiss cheese but less tasty. On the pistol side, there are bullet holes in roof covers which are only about 5 feet from the firing line, not just one but many. Ears get shot off steel target frames and perforate the timbers which top the frames. Its my judgment that many non members simply dont have any idea how to shoot and a lot dont really care, they want to pull the trigger, have the gun go bang and then go home thinking they can shoot. All of this costs the clubs money to fix. In my opinion there should be a bigger differential between member shoot ticket prices and that paid by gen public. My favorite [not] time of the year is the prelude to deer season. Many tend not to use any form of rest, but keep spinning the scope dials, not having any idea that there is no way but luck that they will establish a reasonable zero. Just my two cents, but even after having shot all my life im still amazed at some of the stuff that goes on.

AMMASHOOTA
04-14-2015, 10:17 PM
Once I had to stop a guy from shooting at an (empty) propane tank at 10 feet. We are quite strict with our safety regulations -- no one wants to see anyone get hurt -- even if they are a candidate for the "Darwin Award".

Then there was the time when the match director found a bullet hole in the side of his pickup -- 180 degrees away from downrange, during a match.

Go figure... With 700 members quite a few can slip through the cracks...

Wilbur
04-15-2015, 03:01 AM
Are y'all saying that guns are not safe for everyone to have? Think about the question for a moment....it's rhetorical!

Bill Wynne
04-15-2015, 08:29 AM
Are y'all saying that guns are not safe for everyone to have? Think about the question for a moment....it's rhetorical!
Our constitution says "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed". Yet, we all know someone who would not be safe with a firearm.

Wilbur
04-15-2015, 01:46 PM
Good point Bill....I knew somebody had something!

AMMASHOOTA
04-15-2015, 02:42 PM
Are y'all saying that guns are not safe for everyone to have? Think about the question for a moment....it's rhetorical!

not at all. Guns are as safe as the people handling them.

Bill Wynne
04-15-2015, 07:34 PM
We sure went sideways from placing wind flags.
Not sure 370 BC got his answer.

Not really. If all shooters behaved as they should, the ranges would be much safer and cleaner and wind flags could be left up because they would never be shot. It all relates.

zippy06
04-15-2015, 08:54 PM
Are y'all saying that guns are not safe for everyone to have? Think about the question for a moment....it's rhetorical!
Woo Wilbur. It's all good. If'n ya'll don't mind bullet holes and flat tires. Flat tires are the Union method of compliance. Oh, and being shot at.....
it's all good....The DOJ doesn't enforce the Brady law or Election fraud. Why would they care about some good old boy stuff???? Just havin' some fun....

Slowshot
04-18-2015, 03:53 PM
We sure went sideways from placing wind flags.
Not sure 370 BC got his answer.

That's right. So back to that question.

1. Show the club officers that wind flags are normal (universal) at all organized BR competitions and needed for serious practice.
2. Agree to set them up before starting a match or a practice.
3. Agree to take them down before leaving the range.

When Kimberly and I first joined the Poulsbo Sportsman Club, few of the members had ever seen a benchrest rifle, much less a wind flag. While we were shooting, we were frequently asked about the "silencers" (barrel tuners) on the end of our barrels. After a few months of us shooting there 3-5 days a week, many other members bought BR rifles, wind flags, etc. The only problem with that was it became difficult to find an open bench.