Berrien Co. women learn self defense -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Berrien Co. women learn self defense

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Crime is rising in Berrien County, so the sheriff's office is offering a new class to keep people safe. They're teaching women gun safety.

Deputies say an alarming number of women don't know how to operate a firearm, even if they have guns in the home.

WALB News 10's Robin Jedlicka shows us how many south Georgians own guns, but many women say they're unsure of how to shoot, or even hold one.

"Most of the women that I come into contact with don't, and haven't had experience with shooting a firearm," said participant Cindy Perryman.

The Berrien County Sheriffs Office is trying to change that. "I was just thinking about the people that live in this community, and the crime going up. I decided that we needed to step in as an agency and provide a program or the females of this county," said Sheriff Anthony Heath.

Free Saturday classes are offered each month to teach women gun safety, gun laws, and proper shooting techniques. Participants can even bring the firearm their family owns, and learn on that very weapon.

The response has been overwhelming.  "The oldest we've had is 73. We've had our probate judge, housewives, teachers-- all walks of life!" said Heath.

Each class concludes with at least three hours on the actual shooting range.

"I think it's just a really empowering thing to not be afraid of the handgun, and to be able to feel confident that I can defend myself," said Perryman.

So far almost every class has been full. Sheriff Heath hopes the women's vested interest in their safety will rub off on others, encouraging more to learn the importance of self defense.

The last shooting class of the summer will take place on June 20th.

      • To sign up for the class, call the sheriff's office at 229-686-7071.

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