Law enforcement gets requests for firearm safety classes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Law enforcement gets requests for firearm safety classes

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Four more burglaries in West Central Albany overnight.

As police try to catch thieves, residents try to protect their belongings. More people are buying guns and now police want to make sure they know how to safely use them.

This will be the first firearms class the Albany Police has held for the public. They say they've been getting request from citizens, mostly women wanting to know the law and how to handle a gun. Plain and simple as many as 50 percent of households in the United States have firearms. From 2008 to 2009 the number of gun permits in Dougherty County increased by more than 400 to 1,566 requests for permits last year. Police say those with permits should know the law.

"They need to know how to use them safely, just simply having a fire arm in the house really isn't helpful unless you know how to use it, and how to use it safely," said Deputy Chief Mark Scott, APD Support Services Bureau.

Albany's putting together its first Basic Firearms Class May first. The Lee County Sheriff's Office has held several classes this year and they've been full, because many are fed up with crime.

"Some of the ladies we've had in our class have actually taken their targets home, because we've given them to them and they're quite proud of them and some of them have threatened to laminate the target and throwing them on the door saying enter if you dare," said Lee County Sheriff Reggie Rachals. @

At Backwoods Outdoors classes have driven sales, and they're glad law enforcement is providing the public more than the 15 minutes a clerk may spend with a customer.

"It is because most of the women or people, there are some men that need to have some of those classes, because they've never been taught how to use a gun," said Austin Albright, Backwood Outdoors.

In Albany, class participants are expected to learn, the law, basic safety, and basic shooting skills, but most important thing law enforcers teach in these classes is not to take the law into your own hands.

"The first thing to do is call 911 first and give us the first reaction to get there first and make sure, you know, don't take the law into your own hands," said Rachals.

Both Albany and Lee County law enforcement says they'll continue the classes until the interest dies out. To sign up for Albany's class you must be 21 year old. You're only permitted to bring a handgun and you must bring your own ammunition.

The District Attorney's Office will teach the law portion of the class here at the law enforcement center and then the shooting portion will be held at the Turner Field Pistol Range.

The first class will be limited to 15 and applications will be considered on a first come first serve basis. You need to contact Phyllis Banks-Whitley at the Albany Police Department to sign up, and a background check must be preformed to take the course.


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