One of the students in my Sociology of Guns seminar last fall grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and still has family there. She is what I would call an open-minded critic of guns, or perhaps a gun skeptic, as reflected in her class range field trip reflection, “The Gun Felt More Like a Dangerous Tool Instead of the Killing Machine I Thought It Was.”
At the end of the semester, she said she was visiting family in Kenya over the break and was planning to visit the gun range with her Guka (Grandfather). I asked her to send me a report if she did and she did.
By Elisabeth Kuguru
I went with my Guka to a range out in Kiambu, which is just outside of Nairobi. There are only two shooting ranges around Nairobi. This range is run by the National Gun Owners Association of Kenya, who go by the shortened name NGAO. This confused me at first as I wondered why it was not N-G-O-A. I found out this is because NGOA is not a word in Swahili; however, NGAO means shield. This is also the organization’s logo (apparently they get asked that a lot).
We used the Glock that my Guka had inherited from his father and bought 50 bullets. The range itself was outdoors and visually stunning (as the greenery in Kenya usually is).
Since we were both rusty and I’m a complete amateur, we had an extremely patient instructor who thoroughly went through all of the safety procedures. Because of Kenya’s historically patriarchal society, I could tell that the instructor and organizers were quite surprised that I had accompanied my Guka on this trip and even more surprised that I was a good shot.
I’m sure since it is so difficult to obtain legal firearms and the government’s bias towards men, they do not see a lot of women coming around, let alone a woman of my age.
The shooting itself was very fun and I definitely won brownie points with my Guka.
2 thoughts on “Visiting the National Gun Owners Association of Kenya Range in Kiambu”
Reading about someone shooting her great-grandfather’s *Glock* makes me feel really old!
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It’s great to hear experiences from other countries. I enjoyed your observations on the societal differences between the US and Kenya. Thank you for sharing!
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