Parish opens new firing range

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 21, 2003

FERRIDAY, La. &045; A new firing range and law enforcement training center opened with a bang Saturday morning as visitors fired a .50-caliber BMG rifle and took steps to form a new chapter of the National Rifle Association.

Located behind the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility on Louisiana 15 south of Ferriday, the five-acre facility features both pistol and rifle ranges.

&uot;This is what it’s all about &045; teaching gun safety to our kids and giving the public a place to shoot,&uot; Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell said.

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The new facility will provide a training base for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as a range for target shooting enthusiasts.

The center will be open to the public from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

&uot;We’ll do NRA-sponsored events&045;educational events for the children.

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re very proud of it,&uot; Maxwell said.

All shooting activity at the range will be strictly supervised by NRA-certified range instructors.

&uot;Shooting is a lot of fun.

But the safety rules will be told to you over and over again,&uot; said NRA Senior Field Representative Dick Kingsafer.

Maxwell built the facility with $10,000 in state money and a $2,000 grant generated by NRA supporters.

The Louisiana Army National Guard helped construct the huge berms that enclose the firing ranges.

&uot;This is a very well-done, typical

law enforcement firing range,&uot; said Kingsafer.

Kids took turns shooting their BB rifles, and some even stepped up to the big gun.

&uot;It’s fun,&uot; 10 year-old Matthew Dobson exclaimed after firing the .50-caliber, complete with the type of armor-piercing ammunition that soldiers use to shoot through tanks.

Matthew was supervised closely by NRA-certified instructor John Kammerdiener, an area gunsmith who built the military-grade weapon.

&uot;The .50-caliber BMG is largest caliber weapon that an American citizen can legally own,&uot; Kammerdiener said.

Fellow instructor Finley Hootsell took applications from prospective members to form a chapter of the NRA in Concordia Parish.

&uot;A chapter will work in Concordia Parish, because the interest is there.

It will give the people a local revenue source to tap into to support safety and educational programs,&uot; he said.