Public interest in a Citizen's Firearms Safety course offered in Gadsden has been so great, the Etowah County Sheriff's Office is adding two more classes to the schedule.
The first class took place Tuesday night. All 80 seats were reserved and the second class, scheduled for Feb. 26, is full as well. Deputies say they don't expect the requests to take the safety class to slow down any time soon.
"Our permit sales have just gone through the roof and people have just started flooding the sheriff's office wanting a class," said Etowah County Sheriff's Office Agent Kevin Hassell.
Agent Hassell focused on ways people can protect themselves when owning and operating a firearm.
"Not knowing the basic firearm safety rules. You know, covering people in your muzzle, keeping your finger on the trigger. Things like that that in the end will really, really hurt you," he said.
The classes are designed to teach proper firearms safety and a variety of firearms-related topics, including responsibilities of ownership and use of a firearm in the State of Alabama, Alabama self defense laws and Alabama pistol permit laws.
It's those tips and safety measures Traci Sharp is looking for.
"I own a business around town and with all the crime that's going on and where I can feel more safe," said Sharp.
Having never owned, let alone shot a gun, Sharp said this class is imperative to take. But it's not just new gun owners filling the seats. Keith Hall has owned guns for more than 20 years.
"We just enjoy it. We like to keep up with it and you learn something new every time," said Hall.
Each course is open to a total of 80 participants and the same material is taught in each class. The classes start at 6 p.m. and will be held in room 210 of the Joe Ford Center on the campus of Gadsden State Community College.
There are still spots available for March 5, and two more classes have been added for March 12 and March 19. If you would like to sign up for a course, email Natalie Barton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sheriff's office emphasized that participants should not bring a firearm to the classroom portion of the course.
"Time will be set aside for those who successfully complete the course to attend a range day with our firearms instructors for hands-on firing of your weapon," Natalie Barton with the Etowah County Sheriff's Office said.
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