After a week delay due to snow, my Sociology of Guns seminar students and I made it to our field trip to ProShots Range. Last week we met at a class on campus at Wake Forest University for the first time.

This gave me the opportunity to learn more about my students and their experiences at the range. Although I have not yet read the field trip reflection papers the students submitted, I did learn a few things about their background in firearms.

Of 16 students in the class (14 of whom are women), only 2 students chose not to shoot (both women). One of those students had been to the gun range before with her mother, but her mother had only recently gotten into firearms – “like some sort of midlife crisis,” she said – and I sense she is not very comfortable around guns. The other student who chose not to shoot has no background with guns and has a father who is very anti-gun. She did not want to offend his sensibilities by shooting.

Of the 14 students who shot, 5 students had never shot any gun before and 2 had never shot handguns before.

4 students had shot occasionally, but not extensively. 3 students come to class with more extensive shooting backgrounds, including one woman who has traveled around to shoot USPSA and IDPA matches with her father for six years.

I will know more about their reactions to the field trip when I read their papers in the next couple of days. With permission, I may post some of the more interesting ones here.

Also, I should note that one of the reasons I pursued my National Rifle Association Range Safety Officer certification is so I could help with the shooting when I take my classes to the range. It’s not quite what I learned in my NRA RSO course, but I like to encourage the students to “lean in” (not in the Sheryl Sandberg sense) when shooting. Or at least not to lean back. So, I lightly rest my hand on their shoulder and brace them if they begin any backward tilt. Not sure it is the best technique, but it seemed to work.