Hundreds of people turned off Taylor’s Lane and followed the road back to the grounds of the Delran Junior Marksman Club on a recent Saturday to see the pistol, rifle and archery ranges and learn how to properly use firearms.
“My family and I have been coming here since the 1980s,” said Range Safety Officer (RSO) and firearms instructor Jim Ralph, a Vietnam vet who served with the U.S. Army 25th Division.
“It’s great that I learned from my dad how to shoot, and I enjoy going fishing and hunting with him,” said Chief RSO Karen Ralph during a club meet-and-greet and open house that included some 30 vendors, including local police departments.
“This is the first time we’re trying this with vendors,” club Vice President Chris Eck noted. “We want to get people into the shooting sports, and we offer a great mentoring program.”
“We are excited to be collaborating with local businesses, nonprofits, and public-safety agencies,” said RSO Andrea Perez, also the club’s publicity chairperson.
The club was founded in 1962 for the express purpose of teaching the knowledge and skills for firearm responsibility, safety and marksmanship. The nonprofit seeks to inspire the correct attitude about responsible firearm use to young people ages 10 to 21.
Eck said the club has operated a shooting range at the Delran/Cinnaminson border since its founding, in cooperation with the Delran Department of Recreation.
“This is the first time we’ve been here,” said Delran Police Sgt. Robert Fisher, who was with four other officers at their booth along the row of vendors. “It’s nice to be out here with the community.”
Delran Police Sgt. Robert Fisher was among other officers who occupied a booth at the open house, where he offered tips for families considering the purchase of a firearm.
“It’s very important to keep it stowed away in a safe place and make sure everyone in the house properly knows how to use it,” he pointed out.
For those buying a firearm for the first time, Eck said they must learn to handle it, store it and how to lock it up properly.
The Marksman Club property includes family-oriented outdoor shooting ranges for pistol, rifle, shotgun, black powder and archery. Instructors are certified by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and are club members,” according to Eck.
“This is a friendly club,” Jim Ralph observed. “We take time to make sure everything is right. Our safety record is 100%.”
“This is a great event,” added RSO Bruce Coppin, who also serves as the club’s liaison. “A lot of people are learning about firearm safety.”
“We are stressing safety, safety, safety,” said recruiter David Galetti of Delran, who was talking to people at the NRA open house booth. “We want people to learn how to use a firearm, how to properly load it, and how to lock it up.”
The range, located at 1200 Taylors Lane, is open to the public Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. It is also open Wednesday evening from May through September (pistol and rifle) and October (trap) from 6 p.m. until dusk.
Trap Shoots are held on the first, second, third and fourth Sunday of every month and on Wednesday evening. Trap Doubles are on the first Saturday of each month from May through October.
For more information, visit delranjuniormarksman.com.