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A woman is receiving instructions on how to shoot on the range.
A woman is receiving instructions on how to shoot on the range.
Paul Payne, NRA Liaison, gives a gun safety lesson in class.
Two ‘Women on Target’ students show off their target practice results.

NRA gets big turnout for women’s gun safety training

Friday, August 22nd, 2014
Issue 34, Volume 18.
Michelle Mears-Gerst
Special to the Valley News

There was an explosive response to a women’s gun safety clinic for women held at the Ben Clark Training Facility in Riverside last weekend.

The event, "Women on Target," was run by members of the National Rifle Association and hosted by the Riverside Sheriff’s Department.

The event was originally intended to have 25 participants but once the flyers were sent out the response was overwhelming. Women who wanted to attend the class blew up the phones and emails of the event’s organizers.

NRA Liaison to the Executive Vice President, Paul Payne, said he does not like to turn people away so he reorganized the event so there would be four to five classes that Saturday. The rotations started with an hour-long gun safety and introduction class to shooting on the range.

"We had more than 100 women show up today," Payne said. "I have had close to two-thousand emails and 400 more phone calls from women wanting to attend today’s event"

Due to the overwhelming desire of women in Riverside County to take gun safety training another class will be held in September with a waiting list forming for future classes.

"Women need to feel empowered to have security," said NRA Gun Safety Instructor, Jane Payne. "We have that mama bear inside us to protect, preserve our family and children."

Firearm safety classes like the one held Saturday are helpful for women who want to learn to use a gun or how to keep their loved ones safe around guns.

Women learned the three rules of gun safety, which are to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, keep the finger off the trigger and to keep guns unloaded.

Jane Payne also taught the women to ignore what they see in movies and on television for gun handling.

"We don’t hold the gun like you see in Charlie’s Angels, or wear low cleavage tops or heels," said Jane Payne. The casings when Advertisement
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shooting are known to fly and they can be burning hot, the last thing a woman wants is a hot casing to fly down her shirt. Heels or wedges can also throw a shooter off balance."

Students were given a lesson on parts of the gun such as front sights, rear sights, safety and trigger guards.

"This class was very informative. I got lots of information that I didn’t get from my friends and family who shoot," said Cynthia, a woman from Perris who declined to share her full name.

Cynthia said her brothers used to shoot in the backyard growing up and it was very unprofessional.

"The one thing I learned today that I didn’t know was sight alignment," said Cynthia who is considering becoming a NRA member, continuing her training, and target practicing with her husband.

Vicki Vawter from Canyon Lake said she is grateful the NRA is holding the Women on Target clinic.

"I am taking this class because I just turned 50 and I wanted to do something new. I want to be safe, I have grandchildren and this is something I can learn at my own pace."

Vawter said she is encouraged by the NRA’s platform for women and now wants to go shooting with her husband. She is eyeing a RFK 9C1 Gen2 9mm to purchase.

Dave Wolf FMK, Firearms President, spoke to the class about the company’s guns created for women in mind.

FMK also provided the 9C1 models in 9mm for the clinic. Participants were not allowed to bring their own guns.

"It’s a rare treat to be able to come out to this training facility," said Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Albert Martinez. "It’s good to see a lot of smiling faces and the next event will be on September 27."

For more information about Women on Target and future NRA clinics contact Paul Payne at (951)-683-4NRA or email at



Comment Profile ImageH Paul Payne
Comment #1 | Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm
I will admit that I was very leery when approached by Michelle Mears-Gerst to cover the NRA Women on Target Instructional Shooting Clinic that was held on August 16th at the Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center.

My past interactions with reporters have been less-than-satisfactory and always because I felt that they were biased in one way or the other. After speaking with her on the phone, I believed that her professional ethics would not permit her to slant a story in either a pro-gun or anti-gun direction. Somehow, her values as a true journalist came through in that conversation and I consented to her request, with two requirements from me.
1) She had to participate as an attendee, including attending the classroom portion and the shooting portion.
2) She had to give me her word that she would be as fair and objective as possible.

She agreed and her story speaks for itself.

I am proud of the NRA's Women on Target program, Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff, and also proud of the dozens of NRA Members' Council volunteers who made this clinic a success. Speaking for myself; my interaction with Michelle Mears-Gerst of The Valley News has given me hope that true journalism is not yet dead and this is one example of a reporter that will not let it die. I'm impressed!

If you would like to get on the Waiting/Notification List for future Women on Target Instructional Shooting Clinics, send an email to .

In the body that email message: provide the NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS, and PHONE NUMBER for each participant in your group. This is the ONLY way that I will be able to add you to our Waiting/Notification List. When registration opens for a clinic, I will contact people on the Waiting/Notification List in the order that they contacted me; first come - first served.
Comment Profile ImageMichael Meador
Comment #2 | Sunday, Aug 24, 2014 at 8:34 pm
"Women learned the three rules of gun safety, which are to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction, keep the finger off the trigger and to keep guns unloaded"
From the article the women want to learn gun safety:
....."to protect, preserve our family and children."
That may be appropriate for guns to be used for target shooting but the rules taught for safety and protection are much different:
1. The gun is ALWAYS loaded.
2. NEVER point the gun at something you don't want to destroy.
3. Keep your finger OFF the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4. Know your TARGET and what is beyond it.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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