First banning of a Boomershoot participant

I suppose there is a first time for everything. I hope this is the last time this happens. I took no pleasure in doing this. But after hearing the reports and then getting the emails it was very clear what had to be done. The situation was very bad. Every year I think I will do some training with my range officers and make sure they know they have the authority to kick someone out on the spot and I will back them up. Had they been kicked out on the second offense I might not have had to permanently ban them. As it is I didn’t see that I had a choice. I had numerous people report the same incidents and all strongly recommend the ban.

I sent the following email today and will be making modifications to the online entry software to help enforce this:

From: Joe Huffman
Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Subject: We have a problem.

After Boomershoot this year I had two of my range officers tell me of some persistent and severe rule violations by one of our participants. I then received email from several participants describing the events reported by my range officers and naming you as the offender.

I cannot in good conscious allow you to participate at Boomershoot again. If an injury were to occur as a result of your actions I would be bear some of the responsibility since it was known to me that you repeatedly violated the safety rules even after being told many times.

I am sorry to do this but while you are welcome as a spectator you are permanently banned from participating in Boomershoot.

There is no appeal.

Joe Huffman
Boomershoot Event Director


19 thoughts on “First banning of a Boomershoot participant

  1. Out of curiosity, may we ask what the nature of the rule violations were? Maybe it could be a learning experience for everyone.

  2. The violations included sweeping nearly the entire shooting line and the spectators with a high powered rifle. Numerous people contacted me and my ROs, some saying, “possibly the most unsafe handler of firearms ever encountered”. His behavior did not improve even though he was being watched closely and frequently corrected.

  3. Joe,
    Sorry to see you have to do this. However, thank you for thinking of our safety. I know it was hard to do, but I am grateful that you are putting our safety first.

  4. Very unfortunate, but nevertheless necessary.

    I assumed, (there is that word!) that the RO’s DID have the right to shut someone down and pull them off the line for the event. I thought that was within the requisite authority granted RO’s at every shooting event.

    I feel sorry for the RO’s who had to deal with this as well.

    Thank you for Boomershoot, (I had to miss Sunday to leave for San Diego and my sons wedding, but the clinic was spectacularly successful.)I’ve already heard thanks from several clinic attendees about their excitement for next year. Thank you for your work, your kindness, and your consideration of others.

    In addition, sincere thanks to all your RO’s, explosives experts/mixers, and to all those others who make the event possible. A big thanks to your wonderful wife and children as well, because I know they sacrifice in many ways to make Boomershoot happen!

    My wife asked on our trip to San Diego when I would start planning for next year, and I laughed and said that I already had! Thanks for posting the dates!

  5. Joe,

    This is one of the cases where erring on the side of safety is the most prudent recourse available. The shooter’s actions clearly dictated your response and it is backed by a number of shooters and spectators who witnessed the safety violations. Muzzle control is a very important aspect of firearm safety and this shooter repeatedly demonstrated his total disregard of basic firearm safety.

    The most important way to ensure that the Boomershoot event continues for many more years, is to maintain your unblemished safety record.

  6. Joe, you have my support. I’ve been swept a few times while teaching NRA classes, and the experience is always unpleasant in a teaching situation. I’ve sent a couple folks back to their cars after a couple of corrections. At an event like Boomershoot, where everyone is “assumed” to have some attained some level of proficiency and professionalism before showing up, I not only expect the RO’s to protect my safety, but I also would not hesitate to act on my own behalf in this capacity. Or, more succinctly, if some bozo points his high powered rifle at me, he’s likely to need to extract the bolt, barrel, or both from an intimate place.


  7. Dear Joe,

    Amen to that. Good policy for now and the future. This is too much fun as an event to get it ruined by one persons carelessness.

    To echo other comments, thanks to you, your family and your volunteer staff for all the time and effort you folks put into creating the unique shooting event of a lifetime. I have enjoyed participating for 8 years now and look forward to coming again as often as you folks will continue to host it.



  8. Joe, as in instructor I know you don’t need me to tell you this, but sometimes this kind of thing is what someone needs. It’s hard, but sometimes or under some circumstances some people simply don’t perceive verbal communication in a “normal” way. Here’s hoping the person involved takes a new look at safety. Thanks for keeping boomershoot great.

  9. Good call Joe.

    As someone who had to be reminded (by Joe for letting my slung rifle point at my feet) and Ry (while casing my gun) during the high intensity event I can attest to the embarrassment of having a RO talk to you. No, I didn’t sweep the line or break the 180 rule, but I didn’t maintain muzzle down range all the time with my AR. I apologize to them for putting them in the position where they had to do that.

    At the main event there is no reason to have that muzzle pointed anywhere but down range. I too was under the assumption that the RO’s ‘have the power’ to enforce any violations of the 4 rules, as well as just plain common sense.

    And no, it wasn’t me that got banned 🙂

  10. 100% correct decision

    The range I go to is uncontrolled and sometimes quite crowded. There has been more than once I’ve see a guy sweep the entire firing line with their rifle. I usually take that as my cue to pack my $#!^ and leave….

  11. It sucks having to drop the hammer on someone. But it’s what you had to do.

    I’m not going to claim I’ve never violated The Rules–far from it. But when someone calls me on it, I apologize and try my level best not to repeat my stupidity. Seems like the person in question was all DILLIGAF, and that’s the wrong attitude to take when handling dangerous weapons.

    Maybe one day I’ll be able to participate in Boomershoot. If/when I do, I’ll be very grateful to know the organizers have their eye on things. Well done, Joe.

  12. The sweep of the line was with the muzzle pointed down and the bolt to the rear and on safe. There was nothing unsafe about my action just scared others, when my spotter yelled loundly. I would like to openly apploigize as I did to the range officer and now to others. It would have been nice to have gotten the full story before being baned but this is how it is. I paid over $500 for the weekend for the lane and three to shoot, sprain my ankel, had constant arguments all weekend with my spotter, and got band from the range. Definately not my best weekend.

  13. Sorry but I must correct a few things “repeatedly violated the safety rules even after being told many times.” is very inaccurate in that this was the only item I was told about and only talked to one safety officer about the one incident and do not know of any other violations. The comment DILLIGAF is also in error in that I was the OIC of ranges for 3 years qualifying over 2500 troops and do care about range rules and safety. The range officer told me that if I violated again I would be kicked off and to my knoledge I did not violate any other rules after that and was being watched closely. I felt the range officer at the scene evaluated that no ones safety was at stake and gave me a second chance. The after the fact call with partial information and wrong information, as there was only one violation, seems like making a back seat judgment call. Again I do apologize for my action as I don’t dispute that it was wrong.

  14. OK Got what is going on now. The guy that was suppose to meet me before the event at the range that spent time talking to my wife in the parking lot but didn’t bother to speak to me or help me prepare my firearms for the event. The guy that was disrespected my wife on the ride to boomer shoot and didn’t lift a finger to help load up gear once. That I invited because of my other friend to be a spotter that refused to spot for me and shot more than my friend the registered second shooter. This same guy wanted on several occasions for my wife to shoot which she was not even registered, and didn’t want to walk to the safety briefings and encouraged me not to either and would just walk away to chat when he was suppose to be spotting. This same individual which everyone I talked to around the event said he was an AH and I have to agree. George G. Smith my spotter is the same individual that made me look like a crazy dangerous maniac to you, has now got me banned two weeks after the event. Sorry Joe but this lazy busy body has a grudge against me. I only ask that you have some other basis to use to ban me, than this one individuals opinion and out of proportion story’s. Thanks.

  15. Infantryalltheway:

    I shoot SASS. One safety violation of the type you described is enough to end your shooting for the day. No appeal, no arguments … if you want to stay at the range, you put your firearms away. This includes total accidents, like accidentally missing a holster with a pistol and thus dropping it.

    We don’t have many repeat safety offenders in SASS … it doesn’t take more than a few range violations ( and wasted shooting days ) for someone who can’t follow procedure to either get the message, or find some other folks to shoot with.

    I am amazed that Joe is running with such a relax set of safety standards, that you were allowed to continue to shoot after the first safety procedural violation. I feel that his range officers ( and particularly the one you are accusing of hard-assery ) were inexcusably lax, and I think Joe should consider a review his safety standards and maybe tighten the hell out of them.

  16. Infantryalltheway:
    Prior to getting your badge for entry into the event you and anyone else registered to shoot had to recite four rules listed here. Those rules are non-negotiable, are repeated at the range safety meetings. Just because you’re buddy didn’t want to go, doesn’t mean you don’t have to. Skipping the safety meeting also means you miss the fireball, why wouldn’t you walk up there for it?

    Everyone is responsible for safety and awareness and the rules are there for a reason. Rule #4, “Rifles are cased unless within two feet of the firing line and muzzle down range”, was mentioned at the dinner as well as the safety meeting for good reason. It is the most common violation and people regularly end up sweeping the line. It is NOT acceptable, you are NOT special, you must follow the rules like everyone else.

    Kristopher: If you read Ry’s post you will see the staff member involved was unaware that he could have ejected them on the spot for it.

    Another Note: In 2010 I was staff but was not wearing a vest when an individual picked up his rifle during the ceasefire after a high intensity event. Staff was down range setting up targets, he swept them and the other firing line. Upon him picking up the weapon I began moving towards him yelling to put the weapon down. The individual in question blamed “conflicting range commands”. His other two companions closed the cases of their rifles to leave the line. He picked his up without casing it. He didn’t see why he was different from them. A long discussion was had between him and one of the ROs wearing a vest. I informed Joe what happened and pointed the individual out. I know that individual probably felt just like “infantryalltheway” in that he was some how special and I was handicapped in the fact I wasn’t wearing an RO vest and was perceived to not be staff. Ultimately though we’re all responsible for safety and if anyone sees a condition like that they are responsible to call a ceasefire, get the individual to stop immediately and let an RO wearing a vest hand the final verdict.

    I now though understand why the ROs become “Range Nazi’s” because everyone thinks their special and should get a pass. There is no calling back a bullet from a ND and if someone is hit that’s the end of Boomershoot. The rules are there for a reason and are not optional.


  17. Barron: This was still a fail. The RO should have been made aware of his responsibilities.

  18. Kristopher: Not a matter of responsibilities but capabilities. The RO reacted to the offense which was his responsibility, but did not eject him for it which he was capable and evidently the correct response at the time.

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