The National Rifle Association doesn’t just fight to defend our Second Amendment rights. It also awards grants to police departments for various things, apparently. Recently, it awarded a grant to the Arizona Rangers to help fund training for the rangers.

The Arizona Rangers will be able to spend more time at the range now that the NRA Foundation has awarded the unit with a $4,592 grant. The Rangers competed for the grant, citing training as a driving force behind the application.

The NRA Foundation money will be used for shooting range fees, targets and ammunition for training. Rangers, like other law enforcement officers in the state, have to qualify and stay certified in marksmanship. Typically, the individuals pay for training out of their pockets.

“We are very excited about this support for our ‘Train the Trainers; Firearms Instructor Cadre’ proposal,” said Maj. Mike Dargus, chairman of the Development Committee, told the White Mountain Independent. “I am pleased the NRA is making an investment in our organization’s 19 companies and the communities they represent.”

First, let me just say that it’s a shame that any law enforcement officer should have to pay out of pocket for weapons training as a general rule. While there will always be a few guys who want to do more and are willing to pay for more training, that should be the exception, not the rule.

Unfortunately, far too many departments offer a minimum amount of training for officers, just enough to help them pass the qualification course of fire, and little else. They simply don’t have the resources to do more.

That means dedicated law enforcement officers who want the best training possible have to seek it out themselves. Then they have to navigate the morass of trainers that vary from the sublimely excellent to people like Voda Consulting. While officers should have the knowledge to figure out quickly they’re dealing with one of the worst trainers, and they may be able to benefit from fellow officers’ recommendations, it’s still a position no one wants to be in, including police officers.

At least now some of the burden is being taken off of the Arizona Rangers’ plate for the time being. With grant money in place, rangers should be able to get better training than the standard stuff most agencies can manage and it not come out of their pocket.

The downside is $4,000 goes pretty quickly when you’re looking at quality training. Anyone who has ever shopped for a class at some of the top schools knows just how little training that’ll buy.

And that’s just for weapons training. I can only imagine what it costs to attend classes on other law enforcement topics.

I’m not knocking the NRA’s grant, mind you. They grant what they can, after all.

What I’m saying is that we all may want to look at what we can do to help make grants like this large enough to really make a difference for these agencies. I don’t think anyone really disagrees that better-trained law enforcement officers constitute a win for each and every one of us. Maybe we should explore what we can do to make that a reality.