Kids ages 8-15 got a chance to learn safety and hone their abilities at the Angelina College Shooting Skills Camp this week.

Marcelo Rosario, program manager for the Police Academy’s in-service program, taught the class. He said the primary goal is safety.

“The camp shows them the severity of what could happen if the gun is not used properly,” Rosario said. “It gives them an understanding of life and death, and it also helps them understand that the gun is like a tool. Just like a fire extinguisher is at the house, the gun would be the same thing — used for certain things, not for playing. It’s not a toy.”

The students learn the four rules of gun safety — always treat your gun as if it is loaded, never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy, keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, and know what’s behind, left, right and in front of your target.

“You have to walk with your gun pointing upwards or downwards,” 8-year-old Reg McDonald said. “If it’s downwards, you have to make sure it’s not pointing at anyone’s shoes.

“If you’re holding it like this (straight) and someone’s beside you, then the gun, if it’s not on safety, it might go boom and kill the other person who’s standing right next to you.”

Using BB and airsoft guns, the students learned proper holstering policy, proper aiming skills and better stance. Eleven-year-old Holden Simpson said he enjoyed learning how to aim and shoot better, especially because he loves hunting with his dad and grandfather.

“Shooting the targets was fun,” Holden said. “I wanted to go to this camp because I wanted to be able to actually shoot a deer and not miss all the time.”

Fifteen-year-old Joshua Perryman said he never really had an interest in guns until his mom told him about this camp.

“I thought it would be pretty cool because I could get into something new,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed going out back, shooting targets and cups and meeting different people.”

Thirteen-year-old Graci Braun said she loved shooting the guns because she has grown up with them around her family.

“My whole family hunts, and when our dad’s home, we take him to the woods and shoot with him,” she said. “That’s how we bond. We have a few things in common, but we’re not really the talkative family together.”

Angelina College is hosting camps until Aug. 1. For more information, visit angelina.edu/camp-roadrunner.

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.