By Danielle Sturgis | February 10 2010 14:58

Speedy Gonzalez of Trinidad State Junior College Speedy Gonzalez wears a lot of hats. He stays busy during the school year as a Gunsmithing Instructor at Trinidad State Junior College.

In the summer, he serves as coordinator for the NRA's Gunsmithing courses. He's a top-notch gunsmith with more than 25 years of experience, but he doesn't just fix guns. Gonzalez, pictured at right with some of his awards, is a member of the U.S. Benchrest Hall of Fame and the only National Bench Rest Shooters Association member to win national championships in both Varmint and Hunter Class competitions.

He took a moment  to send NRAblog some details on his school's gunsmithing program, which we initially reported after meeting TSJC Professors Nolan and Gipson at SHOT Show. The program is supported by Brownells, longtime friend to NRA. Read NRAblog's article  here.

"The grand opening (of the new program) is less than a month away," Gonzalez told NRAblog. "We're pleased to have the President of the NRA attending, along with Mr. Brownell and the governor of Colorado."

But this special third year isn't available to just anyone -- "This program is open to the top 25 percent of graduates from all gunsmithing schools in the nation." Read on for more information, and stay tuned to NRAblog!

Third Year Gunsmithing Program Opens Doors

Throughout the ensuing 62 years, TSJC has built a world-wide reputation for the excellence of its program. Companies involved in the firearms industry have supported the program with many generous donations and have been quick to hire TSJC’s accomplished gunsmithing graduates.

“Once again,” said Lopez, “Trinidad State is taking the lead in developing a program to meet the needs of industry when ‘Brownells Trinidad American Firearms Technology Institute’ opens its doors at Broom and Nevada Streets in TSJC’s Banta building on January 18th.”

“The goal of the third- year gunsmithing program is to prepare its graduates to be ready for employment directly out of school,” said Lopez. “The world of work requires students to be more prepared than ever before. In a global marketplace it is our moral imperative to prepare our students for the workplace.”

“This third-year program will allow our students to gain entrepreneurial skills that will make them not just successful gunsmiths, but savvy business leaders,” said Dr. Sandy Veltri, TSJC’s Vice President of Student/Academic Affairs.

The partnership and relationship between TSJC and Brownells has developed and grown in recent years. In 2007 Brownells was named to the Trinidad State Junior College ‘Captains of Industry’ hall of fame after donating a CNC milling machine along with computer workstations and software to the college. In 2008 Brownells made a donation of $40,000 which was used to purchase two new Bridgeport-type milling machines and a variety of other needed tools for the gunsmithing program.

Development of the third-year program began with conversations between the college and representatives from Brownells about the need in the industry for gunsmithing graduates who are not only accomplished gunsmiths, but who also understand the firearms business, including retail sales, inventory control, counter sales, customer service, and dealing with vendors and management. Brownells President, Pete Brownell, shared his vision for this program to reflect real world employment in a working gun shop environment.

With the needs of the industry in mind, the Trinidad State Junior College Gunsmithing Department Advisory Committee began work on developing a third-year gunsmithing curriculum and resolving challenges to bring this program to fruition such as student employees, retail sales on campus, a location for the program, and start-up funding. Brownells provided funding in the amount of $250,000 for facilities remodeling plus needed inventory and equipment for the new retail-repair facility that will be named the ‘Brownells Trinidad American Firearms Technology Institute.’ Other firearms industry partners excited by this program include Sharp Industries who provided two Sharp milling machines for the price of one.

The first class of third-year students will experience the hard work and challenges of starting up a small business under the guidance of TSJC gunsmithing instructor Speedy Gonzales. Gonzales is a consummate gunsmith, inventor, and a member of the Benchrest Hall of Fame, who spent 30-plus years building guns for a living before he closed his shop near Fort Worth Texas two years ago, moving his family to Trinidad, and bringing his high-energy level of perfection and enthusiasm to TSJC to “pass on his knowledge of gunsmithing to the next generation of gunsmiths.”

“Our intent is to open and operate a real life gun shop with third- year students who will provide top quality gun repair, parts, and services for gun owners and collectors and hunting and shooting sports enthusiasts. We will offer retail, repair, bluing, re-loading, and we even plan to do some light manufacturing,” said Gonzales.

Continue reading the article here.

For more information about the gunsmithing programs offered at Trinidad State Junior College, please visit the website at, or call Lynette Bates at 719-846-5650.


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