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Youth Firearm Training
NYS Penal Law 265.20, mandates that any person age 12-15, loading and firing a rifle or shotgun propelled by gunpowder, at an indoor or outdoor shooting range, must be under the immediate supervision, guidance and instruction of:
1.) A commissioned officer of the United States army, navy, air force, marine corps or coast guard, or of the national guard of the state of New York; or
2.) A qualified adult citizen of the United States who has been granted a certificate as an instructor in small arms practice issued by the United States army, navy, air force or marine corps, or by the adjutant general of this state, or by the national rifle association of America; or
3.) A parent, guardian, or a person over the age of eighteen designated in writing by such parent or guardian who has a hunter education certificate issued or honored by the DEC; or
4.) A Hunter Education Program certified instructor.
Unfortunately, another section of that law regarding persons age 12-15, shooting a rifle, pistol or shotgun, the propelling force of which may be either air, compressed gas, or springs, does not include a certified DEC agent (HEP instructor) as someone who can legally supervise and instruct at a range. It only allows military officers, OR military or NRA certified small arms instructors, OR a parent, guardian or person over age 18 designated in writing and who has a hunter education certificate.
Because many of our hunter education courses utilize firearms propelled by air, gas, or springs, it is imperative that every hunter education instructor have a hunter education certificate. I am sure most instructors do have a certificate, but instructor requirements changed over the past 50+ years, some hunters were grandfathered in and not required to take a hunter education course, some may have lost their certificate, and we have few records of certificates issued prior to 1980.
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