I broached the subject of Liberty Training Rifles (LTR) on Twitter Monday, asking my followers there if they thought it was ethical to hold a fund-raising drive to purchase four or ideally five firearms, so that that I could them loan out to people interested in learning how to shoot in a controlled environment with experienced instructors.
It’s tough to squeeze your reasoning into 140 characters, so I thought I’d flesh out my thoughts here, and see what you guys think.
As regular readers are aware, I attended my first Appleseed event with a bunch of other bloggers back in March. I wrote about it here, and took a deeper look at it at PJ Media. The program and the people impressed me so much that I went back in April. After earning my second “Rifleman” (expert) rating Saturday afternoon, I was invited to become an instructor in training. I was thrilled to be asked to join the program, and look forward to the journey of earning my “Red Hat” rating as a full instructor.
As anyone who has ever taught will tell you, if you have enthusiastic students and are teaching a subject you enjoy, there are few things more rewarding than seeing the moment that a student really, truly, “gets it.” It can be hard, however, for a student to apply lessons if he doesn’t have the right equipment, or has no equipment at all.
One of the best things about Appleseed is that the fundamentals taught are platform agnostic. They can be learned just as well with battered hand-me down squirrel rifle as they can with a tricked-out and highly customized battle rifle. Whatever you bring, Appleseed instructors will do everything they can to teach you how to shoot it, and teach you quite a bit about your heritage and birthright along the way.
That said, some people who might otherwise be interested in Appleseed may not own a gun, or may own the “wrong” kind of gun (handgun or shotgun) for the event. They may own a centerfire rifle, but don’t want to spend a prohibitive amount of money on ammunition that may cost a $1 a bullet or more. You may even have a family that wants to make a family weekend out of the event, but which may not have enough rifles to go around.
It is in the interest of getting these would-be and want-to-be shooters to come to an event that I’m entertaining the idea of trying to raise funds to purchase a number of Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic .22LR rifles that I could them let shooters borrow during the events. Here is the specific configuration of the rifle I’d like to have on hand.
It may not win any first prizes for beauty, but this configuration of a 10/22 with aperture sights provides a sight picture similar to the last several generations of military iron sights, and are a tried and true system. A good web sling (either the cotton or nylon) or military-style leather sling allows shooters to learn more sling positions than standard hunting or tactical slings. You can read more about the configuration from the sight where I swiped this picture.
As luck would have it, a few of the 40,000+ people who have been through Appleseed are gunsmiths, and one of them is offering range-ready Liberty Training Rifles with the preferred aftermarket parts already installed and adds a tuned trigger, for less than $400 each. Considering the price of the rifle and individual parts and labor purchased retail, he’s making minimal profit.
I’d love to be able to have 4-5 of these rifles (2 with youth-sized stocks, the 5th with a pistol grip stock for “adaptive” shooters that might not be able to use a normal stocked rifle) to loan out to shooters coming to the RWVA home range in Ramsuer or other Appleseeds I may end up volunteering at (RWVA is volunteer-driven; Appleseed instructors are not paid).
The big question of course, is “why would anyone want to contribute to purchasing rifles they might not ever get to use?”
That’s a darn good question. I only have a simple answer.
If I have several rifles that I can loan out for Appleseed events, we might have the opportunity to develop more than just new shooters. Because Appleseed focuses on the history and heritage of April 19, 1775 and the bravery of those first patriots that stood up against British tyranny, we’re teaching attendees to appreciate their birthright as American citizens. This kind of exposure is foundation and apolitical, and hopes to have the effect of become better Americans, regardless of which party or specific platform they support.
I want to make it very, very clear:
The Revolutionary War Veterans Association (RWVA) and the Appleseed Project are not tied to, aware of, or a part of this idea to raise funds to buy these rifles. They would not be in charge of the firearms nor their safe storage, transport or maintenance if they are acquired.
I would absorb all those costs as part of my volunteer efforts as an instructor, just as school teachers often fund their classrooms out of pocket when necessary.
So there is the idea without any marketing-speak around it. A simple theory that the more people we can get to the range–especially with Appleseed’s blended mix of American heritage and marksmanship–the better off we all are as Americans.
Is that something that you think enough shooters could get behind to have a fundraiser to buy 4-5 five Liberty Training Rifles? Or does this sound like a vanity project that I should just slowly save up my own cash up for over time, and buy them piecemeal in the years ahead?
I truly appreciate any thoughts you have, as I’m still a little uncomfortable with the idea of a fundraiser if this isn’t a good idea, or if there is a better way to go about getting loaner rifles for people to train new shooters.