Handgun safety
by ELSIE HODNETT
Pell City Police Officer Jimmy Woodard, lead firearms instructor for the Pell City Police Department, inspects a 9mm pistol. The course will include classroom work as well as one-on-one instruction.
PELL CITY — The Police Department is offering its free Citizens Handgun Safety Course as a quarterly event.

“With the increase and popularity of handgun ownership, we want to offer these safety courses to our residents,” said police officer Jimmy Woodard, lead firearms instructor for the Police Department.

Course dates are set for Jan. 19, April 13, Sept. 14 and Nov. 9. Class times are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Pre-registration is required. Participants must be at least 21 years of age and have no felonies, drug charges or domestic violence charges. Participants must be pre-approved.

Police Chief Greg Turley said he spoke with a well-established gun dealer during Christmas to see how things were progressing in gun sales.

“I noticed almost all the rifles were off the shelves and they were sold out of certain ammunition,” he said. “The owner equated the gun sales to the way people react when they hear snow is coming and rush out to buy bread and milk. The owner attributed the increase in sales to President Barack Obama’s comments regarding the possibility of future gun restrictions, and also the recent shootings.”

Turley said the Citizens Handgun Safety Course has been one of the most popular and well-received courses the department offers.

“I felt the need to go ahead and establish quarterly dates rather than offer the course on an as-needed basis,” he said. “Hopefully people who either bought or received handguns will take this opportunity to take the course and learn about gun safety and responsible gun ownership.”

Turley said the course offers more than just shooting instruction.

“We have an attorney to answer legal questions,” he said. “We are close to the community and want to promote safe gun ownership by bringing all the experts to the table to make sure all questions are answered. We are constantly evolving and making the course better with each and every class.”

Woodard said the course will feature one-on-one instruction as well as classroom work.

“Some handgun owners may not be as familiar with their weapon as they would like,” Woodard said. “Others may be considering purchasing a handgun, but are not sure which type of handgun is best for them or may want to take a handgun safety course before purchasing a gun.”

Woodard said participants do not have to have their own firearm to take the course.

“But we do encourage you to bring your firearm if you have one,” he said.

Woodard said all participants are required to bring at least 50 rounds of ammunition. Those without handguns should bring 9mm ammunition.

“The Pell City Police Department will offer a variety of 9mm firearms for participants to shoot,” he said. “Some handgun owners may find a different weapon is a better fit for them. Hand size and grip strength are very important when choosing a weapon.”

Woodard said the course will cover safety instruction, handgun selection, holster selection, methods of carrying a handgun, cleaning tips and more.

He said participants should wear weather-appropriate clothing, a hat with a bill (such as a baseball cap) and eye and ear protection.

“The classes are limited to 15 participants, so register early,” he said.

For more information or to register, call the Pell City Police Department at 205-884-3334 or email tinafaulkner@epell.net.

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

© 2013