Gun Course at Kan. College Stressing Awareness, SafetyBy ANGIE HAFLICH, The Garden City Telegram
In the most fundamental way, the concealed carry course offered at Garden City Community College and from independent instructors teaches awareness and prepares people for different scenarios they might face.
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — In the most fundamental way, the concealed carry course offered at Garden City Community College and from independent instructors teaches awareness and prepares people for different scenarios they might face.
For that reason, the course, which also is a prerequisite to obtaining a concealed carry permit in Kansas, puts a person’s safety in their own hands.
Beccy Landgraf, one of several instructors who teach the concealed carry course at GCCC, said that’s why she took the class when it became available.
“It teaches you to be aware, which is the main thing and the reason I did it is to take responsibility for my safety and for the safety of my family, especially if it’s just me and the grandkids,” Landgraf said.
She said that aside from responsibility for one’s own protection, there are a number of responsibilities associated with carrying and handling a weapon.
“It’s a safety course,” she said. “It has a basic pistol course as part of it. And it’s all state-mandated by the law. You have a basic pistol course, a safety course and three hours of it is the legal portion of what you can and can’t do with the law and that’s really an eye-opener to people.
“We also teach them how to properly handle it and what their target is and knowing what’s out there beyond the target,” Landgraf said. “If something happened here in the house and I decided I need to pull out a firearm and I’m going to use it, what if there’s a little kid over there on the driveway on their tricycle? I’m not going to take the risk because I’m liable if I miss the attacker and hit them. Or if I’m going to pull off a round and it goes from my house into the neighbor’s house — that’s all stuff that comes out in concealed carry classes,” Landgraf said.
Elaine Ramsey, who along with her husband, Mark Ramsey, teaches gun safety and handling to youth through the Finney County 4-H club, also has taken the course and said awareness is a major emphasis.
“It kind of gets you to change the attitude or the way you walk in and out of (a store) or anywhere. You know, just keep aware of your situation,” Ramsey said.
Landgraf said they teach people to rehearse different types of scenarios in their heads, so that if something similar ever arises, they are prepared and not just acting out of panic.
Landgraf has seen increased in interest in the course, but said that while the possibility of tighter gun laws plays a factor, interest had been growing even prior to the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting incident.
“The interest was coming up anyway and it could be those that are more concerned that we may lose some of our Second Amendment rights, but it’s also just the state of society nowadays,” she said. “It could be people are becoming more aware of, ‘Hey I don’t want to be a victim.’ Since Newtown, there’s been more of an interest, but I think in the last year, we were seeing a buildup again.”
Landgraf also said more women are taking the course.
“My class in December, I had seven men and 19 women and then the ‘Women on Target’ classes — it used to be eight to 10 women and we had 23 in the last one and we have another one coming up Saturday,’’ she said.
Deb Fief, a local liquor store owner, recently took both the concealed carry and “Women on Target” courses through GCCC.
“When a woman doesn’t understand and is intimidated by a firearm, the class teaches you not to be afraid of it,” Fief said. “It’s about not being afraid of handling a firearm and it takes away your fear of being a victim.”
Landgraf also said that she sees more families who live in rural areas taking the course, mainly because of the length of time it would take for law enforcement to respond to a threatening situation.
“I taught a class Dec. 1 and there was a father, mother and son who (in a rural area),” Landgraf said. “Well, that response time would be a half-hour or more and she said they had more and more situations where they felt like they needed additional protection.”
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