Beaufort police chief teaches firearms safety class for officers' families

achristnovich@islandpacket.comJanuary 19, 2013 

Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy talks about how to properly handle a shotgun during a gun safety class on Saturday morning at the police department.

DELAYNA EARLEY THE BEAUFORT GAZE — Delayna Earley, staff photo

For those unfamiliar or uncomfortable with firearms, living with someone who's required to carry one could trigger some anxiety.

With that in mind, Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy held a class Saturday for 11 family members of city law enforcement officers. The goal: teach them basic firearm safety.

"(The course) is designed for someone who doesn't know a lot about firearms," Clancy said. "The emphasis is 'if you're not a gun person and you see one, what should you do?'"

Participants were taught the difference between rifles, shotguns and pistols. While they didn't do any shooting, they practiced unloading the .45 caliber pistol and the 12-gauge shotgun issued to police and how to safely move and store a gun.

For some participants, the course was about gaining confidence with a tool they knew little about.

"The most important thing is the attitude," Sheila Hudson, whose mother, Carol Smalls-Jenkins works as a court security officer, said. "A gun is as safe as you make it."

Lt. Charles Squires brought his wife Rachel and their sons, 12-year-old Wil and 15-year-old Noah, to the course.

"I want them to know what to do if I'm not around and they come across a firearm," he said.

Wil said he learned how to visually gauge whether a gun is safe to pick up, and to go to an adult if it didn't seem safe to touch.

Clancy said he'll likely hold the program again for other officers' families.

"We're introducing a firearm into their home," Clancy said. "I thought it'd be a good idea to give them (a safety training) opportunity."

He also said he'd like to next offer the class to city employees, and eventually the public. Right now, the department is paying for the course materials, which were provided by the National Rifle Association.

Follow reporter Anne Christnovich twitter.com/IPBG_Anne

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