Meridian Star

Local News

January 20, 2013

More women opting for guns

MERIDIAN —    As Michael Street barked orders and reminders to nine shooters on how to handle their firearms, the shooters readied themselves and zeroed in on their respective targets. At his order, the shooters, all of them women, squeezed the trigger of their gun sending a barrage of various size bullets downrange.

    These were all women except for one man in this current class of 17 people taking the Situational Awareness Shooters Safety (S.A.S.S.) course at Battlefield Shooting Range north of Collinsville. Street, who is the Specialized Emergency Response Training coordinator for the Meridian/Lauderdale County Public Safety Training Facility on Sandflat Road where officers from all across the state come to get comprehensive training of all types, said the majority of his other class was made up of women as well.

    "They want to learn how to handle a gun and how to protect themselves," said Street. "That is what we are here for. To show them how to care for their firearm and use it wisely and within the law."

    Street said students are taught the law through the S.A.S.S. course pertaining to gun ownership, travel safety, weapon awareness and safety as well as home invasion tactics, which are geared toward family safety. He said with the recent wave of crime both locally and nationally after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, people, mostly women, are arming themselves as gun sales have skyrocketed.

    "Everyone knows women are the main target of criminals because they are viewed as weak but as you can see here, these women can shoot," Street said.

    The women come from all walks of life and their ages range from their mid 20s to mid 70s. Faye Bruner, 76, and her daughter, Lynn Combest, both of Clarkdale, were taking the course and doing quite well at hitting their designated targets. Bruner said she has had a gun for quite some time but this was the first time she has gone through an organized gun safety course.

    "The way things are today, everyone should be armed," said Bruner. "And everyone should go through an organized class like this to know how and when to handle their firearm. Mike has been great at teaching us and I've learned a great deal."

    "If you own a gun, you should know how to load it, shoot it, care for it and how to be safe with it," Combest added.

    Anne Walters of Causeyville has owned her gun for two years. This is the first gun safety course she has taken and she is glad she did.

    "It helps in getting used to your weapon," Walters said. "I got this for the same reason everyone else here did. For my protection and that of my family."

    Walters said she has become concerned recently with the growing crime rate in Meridian and the chances of someone coming into her home. These factors have led her to get her concealed weapons permit and the enhanced carry that will allow her to carry her pistol into more places. It doesn't surprise her so many women have taken these classes.

    "Most of the time women go into town alone so they are picked out by criminals," Walters said. "I look around here and I see a lot of women criminals better stay away from."

    Walters walks up to the shooting line and when Street gives her group the order she pulls the trigger on her .38 revolver. A slight grin creases her face as she hits the target.

    Battlefield Shooting Range is located at 512 George Road north of Collinsville. It is adjacent to Battlefield Drag Strip and Motorsports. It is open year round with further shooting education courses to be scheduled monthly, said Street.

    For more information on the shooting range and the gun safety courses, call Michael Street at (601) 482-8892.


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