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Local women learn gun basics
In a ladies-only handgun class Brandi Mcrae was becoming familiar with a Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol.
“[This is the] first out of many classes I’ll be taking. I have two kids and want to equip myself and better protect us,” said Mcrae, a Porterville resident and one of 16 attendees who came to learn about handguns on Saturday at the Porterville Police Department shooting range off of Teapot Dome Avenue.
The class was led by Sergeant John Hall of the PPD.
“Anybody who owns a firearm has a responsibility to themselves, their family and the general public to know how to safely handle the firearm,” said Hall, who along with Mark Lightfoot, Richard Cloyd and Nathan Bray, instructed the attendees in areas such as stance, hand position and aim.
Janice Whitaker of Porterville brought a Ruger .22.
“[I want to] learn for my own safety, so I won’t be afraid. [I’m] still a novice,” said Whitaker.
The day began with an introduction of handguns by Hall and what the class was going to consist of.
“This class is meant to be fun. It is not a boot camp and it's not designed as a defensive handgun class,” stated Hall, who added that the class was meant for basics such as the parts of a handgun, how to handle it safely, and how to load and unload. Other subjects covered included the storage of guns and when to teach children gun safety.
As to the latter, Hall is forthright.
“I am a very big believer in teaching kids. It removes the mystery from it,” explained Hall, who added that all three of his children were taught the basics.
He also talked about the four safety rules.
“All guns are always loaded. Never let muzzle cover anything we’re not willing to destroy. Keep finger off the trigger until sights on target and you’ve decided to shoot. Always be certain of target and what’s beyond,” stated Hall.
Then the attendees headed to the firing range where four tables that were about three yards from the targets were set up. Hall and the other instructors gave instructions to each shooter.
Janine Rubinfier, who has a concealed carry weapons permit (CCW) hit some of her target using a Ruger Lightweight Compact Pistol.
“It’s fun, and for personal safety,” said Rubinfier.
After everyone was finished participants were allowed to shoot in groups of two.
Attendee Andy Washington was there to learn a lesson of a different sort.
“I joined a company and the one thing he [the owner] wants me to do is to teach housewives and women. I’m used to teaching military cadets and police officers,” said Washington, a retired sergeant from the Fresno State University Police Department, an Air Force veteran and firearms instructor. He said that he was there to learn about the content of the class.