Getting Personal: Andrew McNamara
Stars and Stripes May 14, 2008
Senior Airman Andrew McNamara is one person whom clay targets fear when they’re launched into the sky. McNamara shattered 393 of them out of 400 with his 12-gauge shotgun at a recent tournament in Northampton.
The 100th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron airman won Class B in the Iron Man tourney, sponsored by the British and U.S. National Skeet Shooting associations.
McNamara, 24, of Orange, Vt., also outshot everyone in the next-highest class and even some hotshots in the top class. Now the KC-135 Stratotanker crew chief has his sights on making the Air Force skeet shooting team.
How do you feel about your recent shootout victory?It was a really good feeling. I won my class by 13 targets. I ended up beating everyone in the class above me and then half in the top class. I ended up taking sixth place out of 33 people who showed up for the two-day shoot.
Besides bragging rights, what else did you win? I got 80 pounds, my name put on a traveling trophy and a medal.
What goes through your mind during competition? It’s a lot of concentration, especially the Iron Man. In a normal round of skeet, you go around and shoot your 25 targets. And in the Iron Man, it was eight rounds nonstop. As soon as you were done, you were back on again. I started to let my guard down and missed some easy targets. You kind of have to blank your mind and not think about the whole number of targets.
How old were you when you first fired a gun? Eight. I think I shot my first round of skeet when I was 11.
When you first fired it, did it scare you, or did you instantly fall in love with guns? I fell actually. I was shooting with my dad, and I actually fell over. It’s just a fun thing to do — get a brick of .22 [caliber rifle] shells, go out and shoot all sorts of targets. In Vermont, there’s no neighbors real close, so we can just go out in the back yard and shoot the .22s.
How can you own a gun in a country known for its no-gun policy? [Laughing] I had to go to the police station and get the paperwork for it. You have to do a background check. I submitted that paperwork with 50 pounds for a five-year license. After awhile, the firearm constable came by the house and interviewed me and said it wouldn’t be a problem. I then purchased [the shotgun] in the States and brought it back with me.
How many guns do you own? In this country, just one. I probably have around 10, between rifles, pistols, shotguns and muzzleloaders back home.
What are some misconceptions about gun owners? Guns aren’t bad as long as people are trained properly. Safety is the biggest thing. Some people take it for granted.
Did you dedicate your recent win to the late Charlton Heston, the movie star-turned-president of the National Rifle Association? No. [laughing] He passed away? I didn’t know that. I still remember him holding up that gun and saying "from my cold, dead hands."
Are you in the NRA, then? I am actually a lifetime member in the NRA. My parents bought it for me for Christmas one year.