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Talking firearm safety

Guns are a part of Brenda Selinger's life, especially in the fall when her two sons and husband get ready to go hunting.

So Selinger, who had never been very comfortable around guns after a eighth grade classmate died in a hunting accident, figured she should do something about her uneasiness and signed up to take the Slope Area Rifle and Pistol Club's ladies only firearm safety course held the last two weeks.

"I took the class mainly because everyone, the men in my house, all hunt and so there's guns around during hunting season and I wanted to be able to at least move them or at least not be uncomfortable when they are around," Selinger said.

The class helps provide women who have never really been exposed to firearms an opportunity to learn about and handle them in a comfortable atmosphere, said Sgt. Dan Brown with the Dickinson Police Department.

"The majority of households have firearms in them probably and a lot of the male members of the households ... may not take the time to introduce them to the firearms and show them how to safely handle them," Brown said. "It provides at least an introduction to the firearm so if these ladies do come across a gun or there's a firearm in their home or whatever they at least have some basic knowledge to make that firearm safe."

The classes began about four years ago when a couple members of the Slope Area Rifle and Pistol Club noticed that women were somewhat hesitant in instructional settings where men were present.

Some women feel more comfortable learning amongst other women, said club member Cathy Logosz.

"We were finding there were some women out there, or daughters, or whatever, that just weren't comfortable taking instructions from, or directions, from their husbands or dads or brothers," Logosz said. "This gave them a chance to kind of go out on their own and get it from impartial instructors."

Each class is made up of three sessions. The first night includes basic firearms safety, including the parts of a gun and how to handle them. The second class is a hands-on time where the women get to handle various types of firearms and the last class is spent on a gun range where they can actually fire live rounds.

Brown said the gun range tends to be the part of the class the women look forward to most and Selinger is no exception.

"That will sort of solidify all we have learned, but yet make it fun and make us realize why the males in our lives like it so much," Selinger said. "So you're not uncomfortable with them going and doing something that they enjoy because you understand it better.

"The use of guns whether it's for hunting or just for shooting can be a lot of fun, but yet you still need to respect that firearm for the weapon that it is."

Logosz said interest for the classes has been so high that they may hold another class yet this year, which will be announced when it gets closer.

Brown said it's a good course for any interested women to take.

"We're just trying to instill some of the basic safety rules and give them the knowledge that they can handle a firearm safely if they have to," Brown said. "Basically anybody's fear of anything is just the fear of unknowing or not having the knowledge."