Local Gun Club Works to Promote Firearm Safety & Education
January 26, 2020
Buccaneer gun Club was founded here in the Wilmington region by a small group of local hunting and shooting sports enthusiasts in 1947. In the beginning, they had little more than a borrowed field and a firm belief in the principles of good sportsmanship. In the 60 years since that time, the club has built a state of the art facility in Winnabow on over 200 acres and grown to over 400 members. Their leadership and safety record has also earned them a place of respect in the local and regional shooting sports communities.
Members of the club come from a broad swath of backgrounds and include local business leaders, writers, physicians, teachers, military personnel and just about every other occupation you can imagine. What they all have in common is a love and respect for the shooting sports. Be it shotgun sports like Skeet, Trap and 5 Stand that teach skills used in the American tradition of hunting, International Defensive Pistol Association matches to train for safety and accuracy in concealed handgun carry, or historically accurate Cowboy-themed marksmanship competitions, there is something for everyone at Buccaneer.
A common theme you notice from the moment you step on the grounds of the club is the focus on safety. Constructed using guidelines from national authorities on range design, the berms and equipment meet and often exceed national standards. There are also signs posted at each range with specific safety instructions and a copy of the Members Manual details every aspect of how to be a safe firearms user. New members must attend a safety orientation class and each year all members are required to review and sign off on the current standards of safety at the club.
They also take that responsibility one step further by sharing their experience by offering classes taught by state and nationally-certified instructors. Courses are offered in a range of firearm disciplines including Youth Skeet and .22 Rifle instruction, Hunter Safety courses and NRA Women on Target firearms safety classes for ladies.
Youth sports and education are especially important to the club. Children of members are taught strict lessons of safety around firearms at a young age and many have gone on to be leaders on local Boy Scout and high school JROTC shooting teams, with several placing at the top in national competitions. Former BGC President Ray Campbell is also the President of the Wilmington Friends of NRA chapter that raises money to support training in the shooting sports. With the support of many of Buccaneer’s members, his organization has raised over $250,000 to support local classes and training for the Boy Scouts of America, JROTC chapters at many local high schools, the Eddie Eagle firearms safety program for children, and other vital programs ensuring the future of safe enjoyment of the shooting sports here in southeastern North Carolina.