Gun safety classes offered for women

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Women seeking to learn about firearm safety can register now for upcoming classes with the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.

Class instructors Sgt. Kevin Childs and Lt. Henry Wentland said no specific class dates have been set, as deputies are waiting to see how many participants will register.

“We are in the process of doing one of our annual firearm safety classes,” said Sheriff Russell Thomas said. “We do it every year. Depending on how many people sign up that determines how many classes we have. We have some on the list now that are in a class and anyone interested in taking a class can contact the sheriff’s department and provide us with name and a phone number so we can contact the individual and let them know when the class will take place.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The class is free for anyone interested, although the class is geared toward females.

“We’ve had some younger females who come out with their moms and we let them participate,” Childs said. “Sometimes we have husbands who will come out with their wives, and we let them participate, too.”

Childs said approximately an hour worth of the course is held inside a classroom, where students get the chance to handle empty firearms and get acquainted with them.

“We empty out the guns, and we both do a little spiel on the firearms,” Childs said. “Henry specializes more in revolvers, so he handles the revolvers, and, I do the semiautomatic firearms. We take different varieties of firearms that the women can look at and hold. A lot of them show up and they haven’t even held a firearm before so we try and get them acquainted with them.”

After familiarizing the ladies with the firearms, Childs said the class would spend time on the range learning how to properly handle and discharge a firearm. Childs stressed that the course isn’t about marksmanship, but about being comfortable holding and shooting a firearm.

“We don’t teach marksmanship,” Childs said. “We don’t teach them how to shoot a bull’s eye. We are teaching a basic handgun self defense class. We don’t expect them to shoot on the same course we do in our trainings. At the end of the day, we just want them to feel comfortable with that gun in their hand at a reasonable distance so they can protect themselves and their families.”

Childs said the confidence participants gain is reason enough to participate.

“Many of these women have never held or used a firearm before, so this gives them their first chance at it,” Childs said. “Typically women who start the course and are skittish will leave and they gained self confidence in themselves and in their use of the gun. At the end of the class these women leave with the self confidence they can handle the gun.”

Thomas said over the years the course had been very successful.

“Over the past several years we’ve probably had in the neighborhood of 300-plus ladies who have taken the class. They can furnish they’re own gun, or if they don’t own a gun and are deciding on buying a gun, we can provide the gun. This course gives them the opportunity to see first hand how to shoot a gun and they get an update on the self-defense law and legal updates prior to going out on the range.”