St. Clair GOP gun club focuses on safety, responsibility
The name Greg Graves has given the Republican Gun Club of St. Clair County says it all: Time 2 Survive.
“With everything that’s happening in the world, our goal is to teach people how to be responsible gun owners so they’re better able to protect themselves and their families,” Graves, president and coordinating trainer of the club, told the Metro East Sun.
Graves also stressed that it’s important to be clear about what the Belleville-based organization is not. “We’re not out to be a cop or a vigilante – just licensed, responsible owners trying to protect ourselves and our families,” he said. “This isn’t about just pointing a gun and pulling the trigger.”
The organization is not partisan, either, he said. Liberals and independents are invited, and Graves said monthly meeting focus on the Second Amendment.
“We talk about what Senate bills are being considered and how they figure to impact our rights as responsible gun owners,” Graves said.
The 23-member club opened in January, and Graves said he has been on a constant mission to ensure everyone knows what the club is about.
“We only allow responsible people on our grounds,” Graves, a 56-year-old retired St. Clair sheriff deputy, said. “If someone even demonstrates unsafe practices while on our range, we will send (them) on their way."
Club membership entails signing paperwork, paying dues and submitting to a background check. Later this year, the club plans to offer a gun safety shooting class overseen by the group’s safety officers on the privately owned grounds of one of its members.
“Training is important, and being a responsible gun owner makes a difference,” Graves said. “There a lot more guns out there than there are guns causing great bodily harm to people. More guns are being used to put food on tables than causing harm to other human beings. Bad things happening with guns has to do with the people handling them.”