2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Campus gun club quintuples in size heading into second year

By Chris Adams, November 13 2014 —

The University of Calgary Firearms Association (UCFA) has entered its second year, and its popularity is rising.

UCFA has 150-plus members, up from 30 at their first meet-and-greet last year, and 13 executives, who double as range officers and firearms educators. The club hosts around three shooting events every month, but that number is set to double next semester to accommodate increasing demand.

UCFA president and co-founder Henry Lung formed the club last year with friends Adam Strashok and Delano Civitarese. Membership initially came from mutual friends and firearms enthusiasts, but quickly expanded.

Lung said the club is apolitical. He thinks people often confuse shooting sports with military fantasy. The club forbids members from wearing military fatigues, something Lung says sends the wrong impression. He said the best way to clear up misconceptions about firearms is to introduce people to them through shooting.

“I’m not blowing up effigies of President Obama or something. We’re just chill people that like firearms,” Lung said.

The UCFA works closely with other clubs on campus. They’ve hosted events with the Canadian Advocates for Freedom and Liberty and are working on events with Ukranian Club and the Hong Kong Students’ Association and the Fiji fraternity.

Club membership sits at around 85 per cent undergraduate and 10 per cent graduate students. The remainder come from SAIT or Mount Royal University.

Lung said international students from countries with strict gun laws have flocked to join the club.

“It’s interesting that we’ve engaged that demographic over the past year and a half. Especially people you wouldn’t normally think would be in the firearms community — you know, minorities, women,” Lung said.

Fourth-year international relations student Nicole Brouwer attended her first shooting event on Nov. 10.

“I have cousins who hunt and family and friends who hunt. I’ve never shot a gun and thought it would be a neat experience,” Brouwer said.

The club caps shooting events at 15 members. They use six shooting bays. One range officer, usually a club executive, monitors each bay. That leaves nine open slots for members and first-timers to shoot.

Lung said many of the club’s executives were introduced to shooting by the UCFA.

“The two women that we have as execs now got into the sport because of us. They fell in love and they’re hooked,” Lung said. “Same with one of the guys, a Venezuelan immigrant, Carlos. We got him hooked as well.”

The club asks new members if they have a criminal record or anything else that prevents them from getting a firearms licence. Information obtained from individuals is kept confidential, even from the Students’ Union.

The club teaches members about firearm safety and helps students get their firearms licence. International students need either a student visa or permanent residence visa to obtain a licence.

Lung said that most shooting mistakes occur when people mishandle their guns. The moving parts of the gun cause the injuries at their events, not the bullets.

He stressed that the club strictly polices safety violations.

“We will not hesitate to go to the authorities if anything escalates. Not that we have at this point, but we won’t hesitate and we have very little tolerance for silly stuff,” Lung said.

The club engages younger shooters as well. They teach six to 15 year olds to shoot through an organization called Young Guns.

UCFA maintains close ties with gun clubs at other Canadian post-secondaries, including the Carleton Club. Lung is working  to start an inter-collegiate competition between UCFA and Lethbridge Community College Students’ Association Firearms Club on March 29.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet