The world is getting to be a pretty scary place, Ace. I don’t know how I’m supposed to protect myself, for example, from the type of person who would carry an assault rifle to a presidential speech. Or in the event of the zombie apocalypse, which is also starting to look pretty likely. Where can I learn how to shoot a gun around here?—N.E. Oakley
NRA.org lists two dedicated shooting centers within 25 miles of Charlottesville: the Piedmont Sportsman Club in Gordonsville, and the Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club right here in town, off of Old Lynchburg Road. Also within range but off the National Rifle Association’s radar is Central Virginia Sporting Clays, in Palmyra. They’re affiliated with the National Sporting Clays Association, which seems a little more genteel than the NRA, considering the abundance of red and black on the latter organization’s website.
Don’t let the prospect of an intensive auditing process discourage you, though. These safeguards are there for a reason: to separate the responsible firearms enthusiasts from everyone else in America who owns a gun.
But Ace has never let ideology interfere with personal convenience, so if you’re from around here, N.E., consider purchasing a membership at the nearby Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club (RRPC). Take note, however: As a new applicant, you must already be a member of the NRA and will be required to undergo an extensive background check before even starting your Club application. Then you have to provide four references, perform at least four hours of community service and attend two introductory meetings before your application gets put to a vote. In other words, N.E., make sure you have all your ducks in a row first.
Don’t let the prospect of an intensive auditing process discourage you, though. These safeguards are there for a reason: to separate the responsible firearms enthusiasts from everyone else in America who owns a gun. Once you’re in, the benefits are pretty broad. RRPC facilities include skeet & trap fields and ranges for pistol, rifle, and archery, as well as ongoing firearm certification and safety courses. With events for women and recent charity initiatives like “Klays for Kids,” an NFL-sponsored skeet shoot-a-thon that raised money for local kids’ programs, you might even charge the Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club with being “family friendly”—but in the literal sense of the expression, not the political one.
You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 20 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to email@example.com.