Shooting sports shooting up in popularity

Harvey Gerwig
Harvey Gerwig
Ian Bento
Ian Bento
Roberto Bento
Roberto Bento

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

Hawaii Kai - Many folks have guns for their own protection, or for hunting. But a large group of island residents are also taking those guns out and taking aim at fun.

This is no flash in the pan fad. The popularity of this loud, gunfire-filled sport is picking up. And its even bringing some families together on Father's Day.

It's a busy weekend at the Koko Head Shooting Complex.

As hundreds of gun enthusiasts take aim at their targets.

These are just some of Oahu's registered gun owners.

"According to Honolulu Police, there are over a million guns on this island alone," said Harvey Gerwig, with the Hawaii Rifle Association.

Many were bought just over the past six months. But along with gun sales sky rocketing, so has the interest in shooting these weapons. People line up to lock and load at this year's annual shooting fair.

They even brought out the big guns for this event. Real world war two machine guns, are just some of the attractions that drew a crowd.

While there are a number of experienced marksmen on the line, some are new to the sport and have never handled these weapons before.

"We've got a tremendous amount of people who come to these sports fairs that have never fired a gun and many love it ," added Gerwig.

10 year old Ian Bento is one of them. He's firing his first gun, and it's a hit for this kid.

"I hit most of them, I have to say that. They keep saying I'm a born natural at it, pretty good at it," said Bento.

This day of guns with dad on Father's Day hits the bullseye -- for the Bento family's fun.

"I'm trying to get my son into the shooting sports. He is an archer and has the motivation to shoot. It is Father's Day - what better way to spend with your son," said Ian's dad, Roberto Bento, of Waipahu.

And like many of the other shooters here, the Bentos aim to do this more often.

"Its been a great experience, a great father son activity - me and him," said the younger Bento.

For those interested in getting a gun, not only is there a permit process, gun owners are required to take a one day safety training class and must go through a 14-day waiting period.