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Barnwood trains disabled shooters

James Hart took careful aim, using one of Barnwood Arms’ .380 handgun Saturday while training others who, like him, are wheelchair-bound.

“I improvised (my stance) – I worked with my natural self,” he said, fully aware of his body limitations.

Hart, who shoots competitively, is paralyzed from the chest down following a 1997 traffic accident that occurred leaving the Altamont after work heading towards Tracy, scored direct hits to the center of the target from six yards out.

He was brought over to the downtown Ripon indoor shooting range to provide instructions by Marcelo Rosengarten. He’s the instructor of Rosengarten Firearm Training.

“I wanted (James Hart) to be here to teach my two students,” said Rosengarten, who has been conducting firearm training since 1998.

Included was Christy Long of Stockton. A graduate of Stagg High Class of 2005, she suffered a freak sports-related injury in her younger years that confined her to a wheelchair.

Long and Donnette Baker – she’s also in a wheelchair – both work with Rosengarten at the Defense Distribution Depot San Joaquin in Tracy.

“For me, it was wanting to know how to use (a handgun) for home protection,” said Long, who received safety instructions and other pointers from Richard Cantu from the San Joaquin Area Critical Incident Support Team in Stockton.

It’s always safety, first.

“Keep the weapon pointed down and toward the target,” said Cantu, who is a retired sergeant with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department. “Never put your finger on the trigger (after shooting) – you’ll aim (the gun) at the target when it putting down.”

Baker, who is from Concord, was firing a handgun for the very first time. She worked closely with Rosengarten on safety and instructions.

After firing off a round of the .380 handgun – Rosengarten described it as “a light weapon with no kick” – Baker recalled the very moment of shooting as an elated feeling of “release.”

She added: “I was nervous at first.”

Hart, who is a longtime Lathrop resident, had mentioned to Baker and Long to have fun with the experience.

“It’s about consistency,” he said to the two. “You’ll become proficient with more training – the more you shoot, the better you’ll get (at shooting).”

Rosengarten will continue offer firearms training for the disabled per request at Barnwood Arms, 120 E. Main St.

For more information, call 209.610.1425 or e-mail