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Purse-snatchers beware!

Women in Crenshaw County will soon be well-trained sharpshooters ready to fight back.

The Crenshaw County Sheriff's Office will host its inaugural Women's Firearm Safety Classes on Saturday at the Emergency Management Authority (EMA) building behind the courthouse next to the Luverne Public Library.

Crenshaw County Sheriff's Deputy and certified instructor Chuck Gorey, who participated in a three-week gun training school with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with Investigators Robin Daniels and Ronnie White will teach two four-hour classes throughout the day. Gorey said the need for the classes was brought to the department's attention, which was willing to fulfill the need.

"There has been some women throughout the community asking for some type of training to teach them how to shoot," he said. "So we're trying to get a whole group that would like to come out. Maybe, if we can, this will be a continual class. Maybe once every three months we can have an open range for women to come and shoot."

Crenshaw County Sheriff Charles West agrees that the classes are necessary in hopes of preventing future gun injuries or deaths due to accidental discharges as a result of not knowing how to use a firearm.

"We've just seen an increase in women getting permits and a lot of them talk like they don't know how to shoot a weapon or know anything about one," West said. "So we just felt like the class would be a good public service to educate and train women to learn how to fire a weapon."

The first class will be held from 8 a.m. until noon and the second will begin at 1 p.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. Each class will consist of two hours of work in the classroom and two hours on the shooting range.

Gorey is hoping the four-hour sessions will help women that fear guns, overcome that fear.

"Some people, not just women, are afraid of handguns," Gorey said. "What this class will do is familiarize them with the gun hopefully so they won't be so scared of shooting. I love to shoot and using a firearm. Hopefully this will teach people who think they want to learn how to shoot or need a gun for protection the basics of trigger control, sight alignment and safety of their own weapon; where the trigger is, where the sites are and where the safety mechanisms are.

"All weapons are different," he added. "Some are revolvers and some are semi-automatics. That's why we want to hopefully get someone who is nervous or scared of a weapon to have a better idea of a weapon, so they won't be scared."

In classroom, the trio will teach sight alignment, trigger control, safety of a gun, fundamentals of shooting and an overview of a handgun. On the range, the deputies will demonstrate how to shoot a handgun and will let the women apply what they learned by shooting silhouette targets.

"There's more to hitting a target than there is to picking a gun up and shooting," West said. "Just the instruction alone without even actually shooting can improve a score."

Participants are encouraged to bring their own gun, ammunition and eye and hearing protection. No pistol permit is necessary.

"I would like them to bring their own guns so they can get familiar with their own gun," Gorey said.

Pistol permits will be available at the classes for those who wish to purchase one.

"I wouldn't have somebody come spend $20 for one day," Gorey said.

Individuals must be at least 21-years-old to participate in the free class.

For more information, call the Sheriff's Office at 335-6568.