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The Canadian University Shooting Federation is operating coast-to-coast now, with its recent expansion into Nova Scotia.

There are Canadian University Shooting Federation (CUSF) chapters in British Columbia, the prairie provinces, Quebec, Ontario, and now the east coast. The new program runs under the name Nova Scotia University Marksmanship.

The CUSF is a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the shooting sports among university students (more details here). It’s not an easy job, considering the antipathy many universities show towards firearms. But, that’s what the job the CUSF is doing.

The Nova Scotia University Marksmanship members say the idea is to counter the common academic anti-gun attitude that pervades campuses. Through education and as shooting events, CUSF hopes to show students that firearms can be safe and fun. Hopefully, members say, this will give them a perspective other than “the typical anti-gun narrative of university life.”

Dylan Abel, Jake Chambers, Nathan DeLuca, Zackary Mckibbon, Nicholas Roberts and Connor Smith are the club’s founders. The Nova Scotia chapter is CUSF’s first expansion to the east coast. It’s open to students from any university in Nova Scotia, or any young person interested in firearms.

Due to the relatively small size of some of the schools in Nova Scotia, club members decided that coming together and forming a chapter inclusive to all the schools would allow them to pool resources and plan group events. The group started to work with the CUSF because the non-profit “has already built a reputation across Canada as the national level organization for assisting university firearms clubs, which provides us with a strong foothold to start on.” In other words, things might be starting out small in Nova Scotia, but they’ve got help from all over Canada.

So what’s the plan for Nova Scotia? The plan is to start with the basics that every beginner shooter needs to learn.

“We will focus on sharing our knowledge and skills with other university students, focusing on firearms safety, marksmanship, and maintenance. We will do this by offering range days, cleaning classes and much more,” say the club members. “Our range days will always focus on safety by having a morning discussion about the range rules and firearms safety, followed by a demonstration of each gun at the event and how it operates. Our firearm cleaning events will focus on reinforcing the basics of firearms safety and proper firearm maintenance.”

How to help the Canadian University Shooting Federation

In its early days, the Nova Scotia University Marksmanship club faces three main challenges. They need firearms and ammo donated to the club, they need more range access to run shooting events and they want more outreach to potential members. As they’re just starting out, the club doesn’t have much to work with. They’re currently using their own firearms for events, but that’s not sustainable. After all, the current members won’t be part of the club forever; they’ll graduate and move on.

“We hope to receive donations of firearms and ammunition that we can have owned by the club collectively so we can prepare the club for succession after we are done in University,” the club says. “We also have been struggling to find range time, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has allowed us their range for our first event but we have nothing lined up for anything after and have had challenges with getting access to private ranges in Nova Scotia.”

Interested in helping? Find more details at the CUSF website, or its Facebook page.