Newton Sheriff's Officer offers gun safety class

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office is offering its annual Citizen's Firearm Safety Course this month. The course is free and registration is required.

NCSO Agency Training Coordinator Lt. Paul Gunter said he thinks it is important for every gun owner to receive training in the proper use of the weapon.

"I believe that the biggest thing is to be familiar with the weapon so that in a stressful situation you will react based upon your knowledge and training," he said. "Your brain is going to go into overload and you will not be thinking clearly and succinctly. That's when that training is so important and it will enable you to react appropriately."

The course will consist of two classes on two consecutive Saturdays -- Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 -- from 8 a.m. until noon. Classes will be held at the Newton County Law Enforcement Training Center, located adjacent to the Sheriff's Office administration building at 15151 Alcovy Road.

Participants will be required to attend both classes in order to receive a Certificate of Completion.

The course will consist of information on laws governing the use of deadly force; firearms safety at and away from the range; and basic nomenclature of the revolver and semi-automatic pistols.

"One half of the class deals with familiarity of the weapon and also a knowledge of the law of what you can and can't do so you can ensure you are acting properly and within the guidelines of the state and federal laws," Gunter said.

Additionally, participants will have an opportunity to fire their weapons at the NCSO weapons range.

Participants must be at least 21, consent to and pass a criminal background check and produce a valid Georgia driver's license.

Those taking the course must furnish their own firearm and ammunition, which must be in good serviceable condition. A caliber less than a .38 will not be allowed at the weapons range.

"The reason we had to not allow .22-calibers at the range is that .22 bullets tend to ricochet," Gunter said. "So for the safety of our participants, we don't allow .22s. We don't want bullets ricocheting out there."

Applications can be obtained from the Newton County Law Enforcement Center and those accepted will be notified by email. Registrations must be received no later than Oct. 14.

"We usually have a full class," Gunter said, adding that he urged anyone who wants to take the class to register right away.

For more information, call Range Master Deputy Wayne Scott at 678-625-1542 or Gunter at 678-625-1444.