Scouts-L Mail Archive for November of 1998: Re: NRA Certification (Wordy)
Re: NRA Certification (Wordy)
James A. Sheckels
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 09:03:58 -0500
----- Original Message ----- SNIPPED--------
From: Sherri Priest <spriest@AHS-I.COM>
Sent: Monday, November 23, 1998 17:15
>I am wondering what other councils require for rifle range activities
>Boy Scouts. Word is that our Council will not allow the NRA
>instructor to serve as the range officer at our Boy Scout activities
>that we must have a BSA certified instructor. The Guide to safe
>states NRA certified instructor is what is required.
>Which does it have to be? If you have to have BSA certification, how
There appears to be a disconnect between ranges on council property,
and ranges elsewhere. Your council certainly has the authority to
require stricter compliance on it's property that the minimum required
by BSA policy. The council does not have that authority on other
property. If you are complying with the BSA standard and are using
non-BSA property, the NRA certified instructor is sufficient as long
as all other standards are met (with regard to range layout, weapons
I am answering this question with references not normally readily
available to the unit volunteer. These are the publications referred
to by the Guide to Safe Scouting in the guns and firearms section. I
am intentionally limiting my response to Boy SCout use of rifles and
shotguns. Muzzle loaders and handguns have some other specific
requirements for the weapons, leadership, ammunition storage, etc.
These references are available to members of the region/area camp
visitation teams, the group of trained volunteers who annually are
tasked with certifying that council resident Cub/Webelos/Boy Scout
camps are operating in accordance with BSA, federal and local policy
and law. I was fortunate to be a team leader for one such team in
1998, and have been a team member for several years. So I also speak
from experience. Each council has someone, a volunteer, who is trained
for this purpose.
The following references are among those required for the Council Camp
program, and are specific to BSA council operated activities:
Camp Program and Property Management, # 20-920, 1996 Printing
Camp Health & Safety, # 19-308, 1997 Printing
1998 Standards for Cub Scout/Boy Scout Resident Camp, Kit # 19-108
The first two references are those that were current for the 1998
program year. The third is the standards sheets and support documents
used by the visitation teams to certify the camps. This kit states
the most current standard that a council must comply with, and is
The references state that the Chief Instructor for a rifle range and
the Shotgun Range Officer must be at least 21 years old and be NRA
certified for the type weapon used, with some exceptions for military
and law enforcement personnel performing these duties. It is strongly
suggested that these people attend the Shooting Sports section of the
National Camp School. The National Camp School instruction includes
The Shooting Sports Director must be at least 21 years old and be
certified by a BSA National Camp School in shooting sports. This
person is responsible for supervision of all shooting sports,
including rifle, shotgun and archery.
Assistant range officers must be at least 18 years old and hold a NRA
certification for assistant instructor for the type weapon used.
(BB Gun shooting ranges fall under the requirements of the Cub Scout
Resident Camp Manual, which I do not have.)
The standards DO NOT require the BSA National Camp School certified
director to personally supervise all range operations. S/He can't -
there is only one director, and s/he physically cannot be on all
ranges at the same time, unless they are not operated concurrently,
which is an inefficient use of resources. Also, the certified director
job specifically applies to resident camp operations, NOT unit level
Attendance at National Camp School is scheduled through your council.
Quotas may be limited, and a council may send you against their quota
only if you are available for supporting the resident camp program.
If you look at the Guide to Safe Scouting, on page 25, you should see
in the Boy Scout Standards section it refers to "standards outlined in
current Scouting literature and bulletins." This would certainly also
include current merit badge pamphlets - mine are at the church in the
Scout locker. I have personally not seen any bulletins impacting what
I have stated here, but you should check with your council to
determine if there are any. As far as I am aware, the standards
stated in the references we have discussed here are current and have
not been changed in the past eight months (since I had my visitation
team training/certification course).
BUT - for the situation you describe, having certified NRA instructors
appears to me to meet the standard. Especially if you are not using
council property for the range. If the range you are using has a NRA
certification, it should meet the standard. If it is a certified
military or law enforcement range, it probably meets BSA standards.
If it is none of these, you would need to ensure it meets BSA
standards. These are spelled out in the merit badge pamphlets.
Weapons and procedures used must also meet BSA standards as spelled
out in merit badge pamphlets and the Guide to Safe Scouting.
I hope this helps to answer your concerns. Just keep in mind that
local councils have authority over their property and program, and may
have more restrictive requirements than those spelled out by national.
This should not preclude you from conducting a unit program without
using council property, as long as you comply with the established
standards set by national.
YIS, Jim Sheckels - I used to be a Bobwhite SE 308-7; 1SG,US
3501 Farm Circle Road Fayetteville, NC 28306-8303
Southern Service Area Commissioner, Occoneechee Council #421/Lodge#104
CC/CR T-742, Hope Mills,NC United Methodist Church - Member of NAUMS
The Nice Thing About TEAMWORK Is: Someone Is Always On Your Side!