Last week, 5 News told you more gun owners have been heading into their local sheriff's department to apply for a concealed weapons permit. But they're also walking into more gun shops and ranges to take a required safety course. Gun safety instructors say recently their classes have been booked for weeks in advance.
"The majority of people are doing it because they have to get the certificate in order to get their concealed carry permit," said Bill Cummings, manager at Marstiller's Gun Shop in Morgantown.
Before applying for a concealed carry permit, gun owners must take an eight-hour safety class that's required by law. During that course, instructors will teach how to store and handle a gun and why it's important to always keep safety in mind.
"The three top ones are to always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, never put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to fire, and keep the weapon unloaded until you're ready to use it," said Bill Cummings.
When practicing you need to make sure you protect your eyes and your ears, before you even shoot. Instructors say learning about gun safety isn't just important for those looking to get a concealed carry permit. Even people who know all of the gun safety rules still need to be reminded of them from time to time.
"There are a lot of repercussions when you do pull a weapon out, so you have to be sure of exactly what you're going to do, know how to handle a firearm and know what you're doing, because it could lead to real consequences," said Clarence Mathews, gun owner.
"You're taking on a lot of responsibility when you decide to carry a firearm and it's commendable that people are willing to spend the money and the time," said Bill Cummings.
Those looking to sign up for a gun safety course can do so at Marstiller's Gun Shop on Collins Ferry Road in Morgantown. Classes are offered on Thursday evenings and Sundays. There are 12 people permitted to join each class. The cost is $25 to reserve a space in the class and $100 total for the course. For more information, call (304) 599-1556.
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