Women have fun in gun class
By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on July 2, 2004 1:56 PM
KENANSVILLE -- Deborah Garner stood on the firing line with a .44-caliber revolver. She handled it well, punching hole after hole in the target.
It was easy to tell she was having fun. After every shot, she used a line from the Dirty Harry movie: "Make my day!"
Ms. Garner had come from Lenoir County to take the "Firearms for Females" class at James Sprunt Community College. The class, which drew participants from five surrounding counties, was designed to give women with no firearms experience a chance to learn about handguns and how to handle them safely.
Bernice Edmonson of Duplin County brought her two daughters, Daijah and Amina. None of them knew anything about handguns before taking the class. By the end of the day, mom and daughters were competing to see who was the best shot.
Mom was top gun.
Jacksinairy Ortiz of Onslow County wanted to learn how to select a handgun and cartridges to protect herself. Another Onslow County resident, Evelyn Patterson, learned how to shoot revolvers in the 1970s but took the class to learn about semiautomatic pistols.
The Firearms for Females program started in the classroom with about four hours of instruction on basic gun handling, safety rules, shooting fundamentals, range rules and how to select a handgun to suit a person's physical strength and stature.
Lead firearms instructor Geary Chlebus gave the lecture. Once on the range, the women were introduced to various makes and models of revolvers and semiautomatic handguns.
The idea was to keep the experience simple and inexpensive and to attract as many participants as possible. The instruction was tailored for women, who approach learning about shooting in a different way from men, according to Chlebus.
JSCC and Lancer Custom Ammunition, co-sponsor of the program, wanted the women to have a positive experience, learn shooting and gun handling skills, and to see what avenues might be open for further development of those skills.
Other women interested in learning to shoot or in improving their skills are invited to call Chlebus at 910-296-2532 or 910-296-2533.
"This class demonstrated that a substantial number of women like to shoot and would like to learn to shoot better," Mr. Chlebus said.
Mary Ann Basket of Pender County summed it up: "What an experience! I never believed I would have fired that many handguns in a life time and enjoyed doing it."
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