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Newton Sheriff's Office offers gun safety training

News Editor

barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.comCOVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office is offering a free Citizen's Firearms Safety Course this month.

Lt. Paul Gunter, the NCSO agency training coordinator, said the class has become very popular and is usually filled to capacity. He said those who have taken the class seem to find it rewarding.

"They feel more confident in having a firearm in their home and feel a little bit more secure in understanding the dos and don'ts," he said.

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. Additionally, the participants will have an opportunity to fire their weapon at the NCSO Weapons Range.

"Our biggest thing is to give our citizens the ability to get more knowledge and understanding of what the laws in Georgia are and when they can use their firearm and make sure they have a working knowledge of the firearm they have in their home -- how to use it, how to clean it and how to take care of it an how to secure it," he said.

He said he cautions people that they should secure their firearm based on who lives in their home and who has access to it and suggests that all owners of firearms obtain a carry permit for it.

"You can't have a firearm except in your home, business or inside your vehicle if you don't have a license," he said. "If it's in your car, you should separate the firearm from the ammunition and put it in a container."

He said the biggest misconception he's found among those who own guns is not understanding when they can and can't use their firearm.

"They say, 'You mean if somebody breaks into my house and steals my TV, I can't shoot them?,'" Gunter said. "We tell them they have to place you in fear of your life before you can use deadly force. Just taking your stuff does not fall into that definition."

The seven-hour course will be taught on Saturday, Aug. 18, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Newton County Law Enforcement Training Center at 15151 Alcovy Road.

A Certificate of Completion will be awarded at the end of the class.

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 class must furnish their own firearm and ammunition, which must be in good serviceable condition. A caliber less than a 9mm will not be allowed at the weapons range.

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 Monday, Aug. 13.

For more information, contact Gunter at 678-625-1444.