Women take gun safety course

Published 1:11 am Sunday, April 13, 2008

NATCHEZ — Ne’er-do-wells of Natchez be warned.

On Saturday morning a group of 20 women gathered at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office shooting range to study gun safety.

They should be considered armed and dangerous.

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Saturday was the first class hosted by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office to teach gun safety skills exclusively to the women of Adams County.

Sheriff Ronny Brown said his office had gotten several requests for such a class.

Once at the range the women met with Investigator Ricky Stevens and commander of the Metro Narcotics Unit Cliff Cox.

Both men spoke on the importance of gun safety and knowing how to properly handle firearms.

While the class was designed to bring an understanding of proper gun handling, Stevens said many of the questions he received dealt with the legality of gun usage.

Stevens said most questions centered on the castle doctrine.

The doctrine, adopted in 2006, essentially permits homeowners to use deadly force in the event of a home invasion.

The doctrine also extends the same rights for use in automobiles and business.

But Cox warned even thought the doctrine is in place to protect citizens, it should only be used as a last resort.

“If you come home and you see your house is being burglarized, don’t go in there,” he said. “Let us respond, we deal with bad people on a regular basis.”

After some classroom instruction the women took to the range.

One by one the women received individual instruction from Cox and Stevens.

Some of the women appeared extremely uncomfortable with the .38 they practiced with, while others looked almost too comfortable.

Karen Ewing said she attended the class to help her overcome a fear of handguns.

In 1995 Ewing was mugged and shot.

She said since that time she has been uncomfortable with guns but carries a .357.

“I’ve seen too many occasions where you need guns,” she said.

Ewing’s son and brother are both murder victims.

Ewing said she hoped the class would help her find a new comfort level in handling guns.

Malika Lyles said she attended Saturday’s class so she could learn handle a weapon in order to protect her family.

Lyles, a single mother, had never fired a gun before Saturday.

Lyles said recent break-ins around Natchez helped her decide to attend the class. “It’s concerning.”

The sheriff’s office will be conducting more gun safety classes in the coming months. For more information call 601-442-2752.