Students, faculty and staff at the Wichita Area Technical College can now prove themselves not just in the classroom or at the office but also at the shooting range.
The WATC Gun Club and Shooting Team was recently formed to give an outlet for competitive shooting, to teach gun safety and to give people a chance to interact outside the classroom, said Colin Gallagher, the club vice president and team coach.
Gallagher, who recently left his job as a Wichita police sergeant, appreciates competition. He competed on Season 4 of the History Channel program “Top Shot,” which pits marksmen in a “Survivor”-type reality show. Gallagher, 36, also is the college’s director of safety and security and heads the school’s police science program and law enforcement professional development program.
The key to handling and firing guns, he said, is safety and responsibility. “That’s paramount. That’s the most important part of firearms, if they (club members) take nothing else away from it.”
The club, which has about 25 members, meets every two weeks for practice shooting at a local range. To be a member, a person has to be a current or former student, faculty or staff member and be in good standing with the college, Gallagher said. The club also is open to members’ dependents or family members.
The team portion of the club has not yet formed. The idea is to have five to 10 shooters in competitions.
The sport involves precision, coordination, timing and mental focus, Gallagher said.
Sarah Williams, a 31-year-old wife, mother and mechanical engineering and drafting student, is the club treasurer.
Williams said she didn’t grow up around guns, but always had an interest in them. She also wanted to learn about gun safety.
She realized she had some natural ability when she did target shooting at her husband’s family’s farm.
Williams said she is interested in becoming a competitive shooter — “if I turn out to be good enough to do it.”
The club received a $10,000 grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation to build a program that fosters competitive shooting and teaches firearms safety.
For more information about the club, call 316-677-1824.