At the Talon Gun Range in nearby Midway, the Florida Capital City Gun Club (FCCGC) is involved in its weekly meeting and fellowship.
A chapter of the National African American Gun Association, the primary purpose of the club is to involve interested members in the Big Bend in shooting sports, as well as educate others on how to properly handle and safely use firearms, both for self-defense and recreation. FCCGC also promotes fellowship and community service.
These goals are achieved through practicing, safety courses, shooting competitions, offering concealed weapons classes, and community outreach activities. FCCGC president Larry Simmons Sr. went into detail on some of the main services provided by his gun club.
“One of the main things we do as a community service is work with people who have never fired a firearm before. So we have basic firearm training in which we teach things like basic stances, firearms rules, how to grip a firearm, aiming techniques, and the different types of firearms. What we don’t do is put an actual firearm in their hands, we give them a BB pistol with an orange tip, we have them demonstrate that they can perform the basics before we put a real firearm in their hands,” Simmons said.
Andrew Dixon has been a member of the chapter for about a year since meeting Simmons, and he recommends the FCCGC to anyone new to firearms who want to come and learn how to be a better shooter.
“I have my daughter out here with me, she’s learning how to shoot. Our president and vice-president are very knowledgeable on how to operate firearms and how to teach you how to shoot firearms. So yeah, I would recommend anyone who’s interested to come out and learn how to shoot,” Dixon said.
The FCCGC provides various educational and concealed weapons training programs and opportunities, so that those new to firearms can more easily identify and chart a path that best helps them develop and further refine their marksmanship and defensive skills. Simmons said many women in the Big Bend come to FCCGC to become certified gun owners.
“You get a lot of women that have never touched a gun who often feel the need to protect themselves. So we have a class certified by the state of Florida where certified instructors teach firearms safety and concealed carry. Meaning they can receive a certificate they can submit to the state of Florida for a permit to carry firearms. Then we invite them to come out here to practice their marksmanship,” said Simmons.
The members of the FCCGC are pro-Second Amendment rights gun owners, who believe in responsible gun owners having the right to bear arms. FCCGC vice president Antonio Hall, who owns a security company and an AR-15 believes the weapons he owns are not the problem, but the people operating them.
“I know the AR-15 has a bad rep. I own several, probably am going to go buy several more. The guns aren’t the problem it’s the person with the gun that’s the problem, because the gun isn’t going to shoot itself. Plus, there’s already millions on the streets, so what are you going to do about the people who already have them if you ban them,” Hall said.