State offers firearms training


The recent mass shooting event in Lewistown, Maine, and the terrorist attacks on the people of Israel by Hamas are sad reminders that we live in dangerous times in a very dangerous world. Violence can occur at any time and place, often without warning. These tragic events serve as unpleasant reminders that we are all responsible for our own self-defense and must proactively protect ourselves and our families from the threat of violence. While self-defense classes can have a role to play in that, as do alarm systems, guard dogs, fencing, deadbolts, and security cameras, sometimes the only effective defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

The Alabama Legislature understands that all Americans have a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The state has put very few barriers in place to keep its citizens from being armed. In fact, the state will even train citizens to use their guns for sport and, if necessary, for self-defense.

Alabama has permitless carry and open carry, so there are no barriers to citizens being armed at virtually all times so that they can respond to any threat of attack with deadly force if and when necessary. An armed public, sadly, is perhaps the realistic defense against being a victim in a mass shooter event. Alabamians may carry openly or concealed legally with a concealed carry permit. Be aware that businesses and private property owners have a right to refuse service to gunowners and can lawfully ask them to leave. Other places, such as schools, power plants, courthouses, stadiums, police stations, banks, etc., have rules against carrying firearms.

The state of Alabama also provides citizens with 12 public shooting ranges, where citizens and families can work on improving their ability to handle and operate different firearms. Any skill requires hours of practice to become proficient, and practice is necessary to maintain proficiency. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) maintains family-friendly ranges so that Alabamians can practice and improve their firearm skills while providing a controlled environment that the whole family can enjoy.

Many Alabamians learned to shoot from their fathers or grandfathers, but those lessons were a long time ago, and they may need a refresher course before they purchase or start carrying a gun. Others may have grown up in a home where there was no firearms training at all, and their schools and churches failed to provide them with that. In those cases, a firearms training course is recommended. ADCNR now offers an introduction to handguns class focusing on firearm safety and marksmanship in a low-stress, family-friendly environment. The Introduction to Handguns class is perfect for those who want to learn more about handguns, target shooting, and firearm safety in a controlled environment. The class is taught by firearms instructors from the Law Enforcement Section of ADCNR’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.

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