The Lee County Sheriff's office wants women to know how to use a gun, the right way.
More and more women are purchasing guns these days.
Lt. Col. Chris Owens is the instructor of the two day course and says
"We want to make sure we can help them feel safe and comfortable should they have to use their weapon to defend themselves."
Amber Darling took this course because she works alone much of the time.
She says "It's a sense of empowerment just to know that I am able to protect myself and my family."
Over 500 women have taken this course since Sheriff Rachals started it in 2009.
The Sheriff says he started the class because of the strong interest and that "Most of the women don't have the knowledge of a weapon like they should"
"No one's ever taken the time to show 'em how to operate it; what to expect when it's fired,"
This two-day gun class starts in the classroom.
Owens said "We think it's really important for them to realize the laws some of them have changed."
"The next thing is the use of deadly force, when they can use deadly force, and the safety of a gun."
Ann Carr took the class because she has gone deer hunting before with a shotgun but wanted to learn how to shoot a revolver. And says she learned a lot during the classroom session.
"I understand more about when someone comes towards you if it's necessary and reasonable"
The instructor showed us a gun, asking if it was real or fake.
Every one of us said real-- but it wasn't.
Owens said "They're making them look so real that it's hard to tell at a moments glance and it's extremely difficult to make a split second decision that they have to live with."
Manufacturers put orange on the front of toy guns and criminals used that to their advantage.
Sheriff Rachals said "Even if it's orange, we can't hesitate, because we don't know if it's real or not."
Ann Carr says she wouldn't want to make that call if someone pointed a water gun that looked real.
"I think I would do the same thing as a police officer would... go ahead and shoot"
Sheriff Rachals works with his daughter, who is also in law enforcement.
He says it is important to teach gun safety starting at a young age, especially if guns are in the house.
And changing the way toy guns are made.
Sheriff Rachals said "Start making them look like a toy gun instead of real guns out here on the street."
Colonel Owens says the best part of teaching for him and the other volunteers is seeing women leave the course with a better understanding of the laws, and more confidence in their abilities.
For more information on future gun classes call the Lee County Sheriff's office at 229-759-6012.