Gun classes teach responsible ownership, self-defense

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – More than 208,000 people in the Midstate have a concealed weapons permit. Pennsylvania law does not require any training, but many gun owners seek out training on their own.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Department offers a two-day course.

“I think we have one of the best classes that I know of in this state,” Sheriff James W. Muller said. “I am a big believer in the Second Amendment, but there is also a big responsibility in carrying that weapon.”

The course offers an eye-opening look at what gun ownership really means.

“What we teach is self-defense and every aspect of it,” Chief Deputy L.J. Supenski said.

The class covers current laws like where you can carry and where you can’t, when you should not use your gun, and what happens if you pull the trigger in self-defense. A defense attorney and a representative from the Adams County district attorney’s office talk about the legal process.

“If you use a firearm today and you take a life, it is not a question if you are going to get sued, you are going to get sued,” Supenski said. “We talk about how to prepare for that and we talk about things like what type of insurance you should have.”

The instructors also talk about the moral implications of using your weapon in self-defense.

“When it actually happens to you, that might not be something emotionally you can deal with. It is a bad thing to take another person’s life, and I have seen how it affects certain people,” Muller said.

On the second day of the class, students are on the gun range learning how to draw, aim and shoot. It’s a beginner class so students start out standing still and close to the targets and then work on moving and shooting.

“I think it’s been excellent,” Stephanie Haifley said. “I want to take more classes and become more familiar with what I am carrying right now.”

“I think it’s a good opportunity to know each side of the law. It is a good course to take,” said another student who did not want to be identified.

The sheriff’s department started the class six years ago. The office teams up with local gun clubs. The staff volunteers their time. There is a fee to help cover the cost of the facility where classes are held.

“When you get done with this program, you should know everything you need to know about the legalities of carrying a weapon, the consequences of using that weapon, and how to fire the weapon,” Muller said.

“If you are going to own a firearm, then be a responsible owner and learn what you need to learn,” Supenski said. “The more training you have in use of a deadly weapon, the better off everyone is.”

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