Members at a local gun club explain how grants from the national rifle association help to keep the place running.

At the Gem City Gun Club, safety, is learned through education.

 "If you can't be safe, then you shouldn't be handling a firearm."

Club Treasurer. And NRA- certified instructor, Joe Paradisi.

"With these juniors out here, they're all taught to respect a firearm, it is not a toy." Paradisi said

            It's here that he and fellow certified instructors work side-by-side with children and teens to show them the proper ways to handle a gun.

It's an opportunity to help kids, and teach them about safety. Teach them about what's right before they learn something from like a video game or something like that."

            15-year-old Amanda Wright competes in state rifle tournaments, and she says the program teaches more than just how to shoot a target.

 "Discipline is one of them. Wright said Just like, basic skills, and I use those every day."

Helping to fund new equipment for the club and youth program,  are grants through the NRA.  The grant program made headlines last week when a school board in Stroudsburg, PA, blocked a grant to the school's rifle team.

"If that was in Erie, and they rejected the funds, being a taxpayer, I would say, why wouldn't we support them?" Paradisi said

            The NRA has been a subject of ridicule from activists in the wake of recent school shootings. Going as far as to try and stop the politicians from taking donations. And while Gem City may do some of its own fundraising, Paradisi says the grants can provide a real boost to a club that depends on one.

"Why would we turn it down? Free money, no strings attached."


Paradisi says the club will be applying for an NRA grant this year.  It's to help fund a youth shotgun program, to train junior shooters in trap shooting