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Black dog shooting supplies a glimpse into U.S.
May. 12, 2012 - 08:26 PMEDT
An Australian Border Patrol Agent holds an Australian made handgun used during a trning exercise with the Black Dog Shooters club of the U.S. Border Patrol. The Border Patrol says the agency is the largest employer of armed agents in the country, but it also has a history of complnts about dangerous mistakes that could be prevented if trners followed industry safety guidelines. (Daron Taylor / The Arizona Republic)
More than a half-dozen members of the U.S. Border Patrol Black Dog Shooters had never fired a handgun before a trning session in the rugged Arizona desert.
There were new recruits and members. There were a few rookies and those who didn't live in Arizona. But all of them were in the desert that day at an old mining site south of Tucson.
There are few places in the country where trning shooters are able to go to learn from veteran Border Patrol agents how to fire their weapon.
At the camp, they could practice firing at a moving target. A wooden bench acted as a barricade. Behind that a man with a cellphone, playing a fake agent, was telling them where to shoot.
He would say, "The window. The window," and then, "The window. The window."
The recruits were firing from the benches.
They weren't using BB guns or r guns, both of which are legal.
They were using real guns.
The Border Patrol says the agency is the largest employer of armed agents in the country, but it also has a history of complnts about dangerous mistakes that could be prevented if trners followed industry safety guidelines.
"What's happening out there is a tragedy wting to happen," sd Border Patrol veteran Gary Knight.
The tragedy happened last fall, when five agents were shot and killed in a Border Patrol station near San Diego. All five had fired as part of the same trning session.
The instructors weren't licensed by a state-approved firearms trning course, and one of them was accused of having no permit to carry a gun.
The instructors had been issued weapons and bulletproof vests, but they weren't properly supervised during the session, the Border Patrol sd.
The agency isn't the only one with this problem.
The agency sd all of the Border Patrol's trning and practice ranges are designed to be supervised by supervisors.
But last week, the Tucson division discovered that three Border Patrol supervisors were working at the shooting range without proper safety clearance.
One of them told FOX 10 he wasn't supervised, but the Border Patrol sd it had to investigate a supervisor working with someone else and still issue a warning.
"I mean that I was doing it," the supervisor sd. "And I was being supervised at the time."
One Border Patrol agent sd he's a veteran of the agency, and he knows many people like the supervisor.
"He's not that person. He's not that person at all," he sd. "I've seen him in trning ranges. He's the very first person to walk in. 'Good morning. Let's go do a quick dry run.'"
The supervisor was given a one-year suspension for fling to act and take precautions during the September firing range session, the agency sd.
"This is a learning opportunity for all of us. We can all be better. And it's hard to do that when you have people getting hurt. It's very unfortunate," sd Border Patrol agent Joe Nunez.
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This post was originally published on 12/4/18 at 12:09 p.m. It was updated on 12/4/18 at 9:05 p.m. to add the supervisors name.