A PROGRAM OF THE NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION

Firearm safety teaching leads to honor for Las Vegas man

Whether he's teaching a concealed weapons class or coaching one on one, Kevin McNair emphasizes safety first.

That diligence is why McNair, 50, has been recognized as a "Local Champion" by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

"Some people you have to tell over and over again," McNair said. "It's all about safety."

Always keep the firearm's muzzle — McNair called it "the business end" — pointed in a safe direction and away from people. Keep your finger off the trigger until you're going to shoot. Always treat a gun like it's loaded. Understand that the gun's safety is a mechanism that can fail.

"It's the person holding the firearm's responsibility, not the firearm," McNair said. "It doesn't have to be a problem if it's done safely."

McNair, owner and founder of the Tactical West shop in the southwest valley, preaches that message to everyone he teaches, whether a person who's never fired a gun before or a veteran shooter getting a license renewed.

McNair, who lives in Las Vegas, teaches hunter education classes through Nevada's Department of Wildlife and does firearm classes and hunting seminars for groups and individuals. He's a licensed concealed carry firearm instructor for Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Florida. He is the local chapter chairman for the Mule Deer Foundation, a conservation group that pushes to protect deer habitat and supports hunting, and he instructs local Boy Scouts seeking to earn firearm-related badges.

McNair grew up around guns and has been hunting all his life, he said. Even after he graduated from UNLV and started doing marketing for major casino companies, he always knew he would end up in this field.

The husband and father of two teenagers was working for a casino in Northern Nevada when he started taking National Rifle Association classes to become a certified instructor in the early 2000s. He started his own training business and in 2010 became Bass Pro Shops' go-to gun guy.

McNair said he joined the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearm manufacturers' trade group most famous in the valley for its annual SHOT Show convention, because he is a Second Amendment enthusiast and loves the kinds of safety outreach that it does.

McNair will be recognized at a foundation event today at Bass Pro Shops at 8200 Dean Martin Drive. It's part of the foundation's third annual Project ChildSafe "S.A.F.E. Summer" campaign. McNair will lead two seminars, designed to educate both children and adults about the importance of keeping weapons out of the hands of vulnerable children.

The S.A.F.E. Summer campaign aims to remind people that proper firearm safety prevents accidents, theft and misuse.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation says Project ChildSafe, which launched in 1999, has provided 37 million free firearm safety kits to gun owners. Manufacturers have included free locking devices with more than 70 million new firearms sold since 1998.

Such kits will be distributed at today's event. McNair hosts concealed weapons classes the first Saturday of every month at Bass Pro Shops for about $100.

Original article on Las Vegas Review Journal.