Belgians enjoy American Freedoms

What a fantastic day. I’m willing to bet that I had a better day than almost all of you. How? I got to take two new shooters to the range and teach them to shoot. Neither of them had ever shot a gun before. In fact, neither of them had ever even TOUCHED a gun before. How can that be? Because they are Belgians, and they are here in the US as foreign exchange students.

Meet Marthe.

In addition to being a great shooting student, she’s also very pretty. She’d seen guns in movies, but until today, she’d never actually put her hands on one. She proved that she could listen well and apply her training. She did awesome for her first day out.

Meet Peter.

Peter asked me not to tell you his full name. He doesn’t want to show up in a Google search.He’s a lawyer from Belgium who’s here at Duke University’s law school for a year. Like Marthe, his only experience with guns is from Hollywood. He said that in Belgium, if you’re a criminal, you can get a gun in 10 minutes on the street. If you’re a law-abiding citizen, it’s very difficult. It’s considered “shocking” to have a gun in Belgium.  How shocked would they be if they found out that Peter is actually quite a good shot?

I met Marthe and Peter last week at the range safety class. Wake County requires you to attend a 3 hour class to learn the rules of the range. I knew right away that Peter wasn’t from around here, and as soon as I heard them speaking, I heard the accent. I asked, and they told me that they came to the class so that they could shoot guns. They were in America, and the one quintessential American experience is shooting a gun.

They didn’t know that the Wake range doesn’t rent guns, so I offered to meet them tonight and let them try out my Ruger 22/45. It’s the perfect gun for beginners. It doesn’t beat you up and it’s accurate and easy to handle. They both were happy with it.

We spent the better part of two hours shooting 50 rounds each. The range safety officer was really supportive. Having a female RSO worked to our advantage. Peter, after looking around the range, remarked that shooting seemed to be a family sport. There were women and children on the range. There was a really nice African-American woman in the lane next to us when we started. She really had that famous Southern charm. She though it was fabulous that these Belgians were here learning how to shoot. The Wake County range sure put its best foot forward today.

After shooting, we talked outside. Peter and Marthe both told me that they found that the biggest thing they learned was that shooting is about concentration and focus and not about excitement. It was fun for them, but it was a sport that required discipline. Peter pointed out my favorite thing about shooting. It has instant feedback. You know right away if you did it right or wrong. You don’t get to make excuses. You do it right and you are rewarded with success. You do it wrong and you see the results. The instant feedback forces you to focus and do it better each time.

We’ve made plans to meet up again on some future Tuesdays and shoot some more. They are even interested in taking a full day shooting class with a professional shooting school. They even gave me Belgian beer and baked goods!

Like I said, I had a fantastic day.

13 Responses to Belgians enjoy American Freedoms

  1. A positive shooting experience for 2 new shooters, and Belgian beer, and baked goods. I think I’d call that a quadruple win.

  2. I have taken quite a few new shooters to the Wake Co range every time has been a positive experience. A great range that dispels a lot of the misconceptions of what a shooting range is to new shooters. I just wish I lived closer.

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  4. I bet my flesh colored pants get way more stares than hers do, different reasons but still.

  5. What a great way to show visitors America!

    It sounds like their shooting instruction is coming along pretty well. The only thing we need to do is work on those caps they are wearing. :-)

  6. I told them to wear ball caps to shield themselves from brass raining on them. They picked Duke caps because that’s where they are attending school.

  7. Belgium has some of the “least restrictive” (*) firearms laws of Western Europe, behind Switzerland of course.

    You need to get through all the usual BS … err I mean paperwork and wait for weeks or months for the local Governor to sign off the goddamn permit.

    They have some weird categorization of firearms (not as absurd as in France but close) but as in Switzerland they can still get machine guns.

    Anyway, nice move on their part, nice move on yours !

    I’m a gun owner back in France, not being able to enjoy full auto back there I put some lead downrange a few days ago in NC and PA with naughty NFA Title II firearms. Especially enjoyed the suppressed Kriss Vector.
    Did some bullseye shooting too but my forearms were still sore from my 2-hour jetski rental in the Outer Banks: results were even more lousy than usual.

    (*) we’re talking Europe, of course …

  8. Awesome!

  9. I have had two foreign exchange students in the last couple of years, one from Japan where it is impossible for a citizen to shoot a gun and one from Paraguay where guns are much more available.

    I took both to the range I attend and both loved it. K from Japan went twice, once with just him and me and the other time with my son. We stopped at the gun store and he was flabbergasted at the selection of guns. Gun stores don’t exist in Japan. While at the range with my son, one of the other shooters allowed both boys to shoot his Bushmaster in .223. When we were done, I had him save his targets and take them home with him to Japan. He told me his friends were mega-impressed.

    My Paraguayan son got to shoot a number of times, from .22 up to .357. His favorite was a little break down Browning .22.

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