ACSO offering gun safety class for women

Published 12:01 am Friday, February 29, 2008

NATCHEZ — While the rash of recent home break-ins has subsided, their memory has prompted citizens to action.

Several gun stores across town report sales of handguns, specifically to their female clientele, are on an upswing.

Sports Center’s gun sales clerk Vernon Smith said he has seen a rise in the number of women purchasing handguns.

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“There’s a very noticeable increase,” he said. “No two ways about it.”

Smith said he regularly sees men come into the store to check out the selection and return later with their wife or girlfriend.

But Smith said it has become more common to see single women in the store shopping for guns.

“They want to be safe and protected,” he said.

And when they shop for protection, several gun brokers said they shop for the .38 Special.

Karen Robinson, a clerk at Bowie Outfitters, said the .38 is a popular model for would-be gun owners with little or no gun experience.

“It’s small and it’s easy to use,” she said. “You just pull the trigger.”

But this new influx of gun owners has also prompted a reaction from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

In response Sheriff Ronny Brown will be orchestrating a gun safety class specifically for women.

Brown said given the nature of the community, with specific regard to hunting, most men in the area are already familiarized with proper gun safety.

Brown said his office has received a great number of calls asking for such a service to be provided.

The class will start with the basic fundamentals of gun safety and usage Brown said.

“They will learn to load, point and shoot,” he said.

Brown also said women in the class will be educated on laws pertaining to ownership and carrying a firearm.

And laws regarding firearms should be of particular interest to new gun owners since one gun broker said the .38 is also favored because it can fit easily in a purse.

But Adams County District Attorney Ronnie Harper said carrying a firearm in a purse, without a concealed weapons permit, is a misdemeanor in Mississippi.

But for now Brown is content to get the newly armed residents of Natchez to use their weapons safely.

“A gun is very serious,” he said. “And proper gun safety is part of owning a gun.”

Brown said women interested in the class, which will be free of charge, should contact Jackie Posey at the sheriff’s office.

Participants do not need to own their own gun, they will be provided by the sheriff’s office.

Brown said the number of women interested will dictate the date for the classes.

For more information contact the sheriff’s office at 601-442-2752.