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First Women’s Firearm Safety Class concludes

HOME AT THE RANGE: Pearl River County women practice shooting techniques under the watchful eye of Picayune Police Captain James Bolton. Jodi Marze | Picayune Item

HOME AT THE RANGE: Pearl River County women practice shooting techniques under the watchful eye of Picayune Police Captain James Bolton.
Jodi Marze | Picayune Item

On Saturday, the Picayune Police Department certified members of their first Firearm Safety Class for Women at the Mississippi Combat Training Academy (MCTA ) located on Flat Top Road.

The day’s chill and slight precipitation did not deter the women who arrived to shoot targets in a variety of stances, from various distances and using techniques they had been taught in class. Some of the techniques included proper stance, grip and draw, sight alignment, trigger control and follow through.

Class members left with their targets, certificates and eagerness to continue their firearm safety development.

“It was a very informative class,” Katie Rickoll said. “I learned a lot of important things about guns that women really need to know. The bonus was actually getting to go out to the firing range and put what we learned in class to use. I’m very appreciative to the Police Department for allowing us this opportunity.”

Students ranged from hunters to those who had never held a gun. Class instructor Capt. C. Ray Carlisle said the students were from different areas in the community and he was proud of their progress.

“We had an overwhelming response from the first article that announced the class, so I knew that the ladies in the community were excited. The critiques we have received from students in this class were all rated highly,” Picayune Police Chief Bryan Dawsey said.

“My guys were excited about it, we are taking safety very serious,” Dawsey said. “This is something I have wanted to do for years because it is important for women to know how to defend themselves. Many times criminals will target a group they perceive as weaker than they are.

We want all of the women in our community to feel safe. We are here to protect them also but we want all of the bases covered.”

In addition to knowing how to properly use a firearm, Dawsey said it is important to not ignore gut instinct.

“If you feel that something is out of place or doesn’t feel right, get out of that situation,” he said. “Leave and either return at a different time or call 911 if Four more classes, each consisting of 20 women, will continue throughout the upcoming weeks. The next group is tentatively scheduled for the fall.