LAWS: Women shooting safely
SELF-DEFENSE Lauderdale Association of Women Shooters members Linda Magee, left, Mildred Thompson and Nelda Coley are all certified National Rifle Association instructors. They will be on hand at the upcoming classes teaching gun safety. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
June 23, 2002
It has been more than 10 years since Nelda Coley took her first class on gun safety.
Today, Coley is a National Rifle Association certified instructor with the Lauderdale Association of Women Shooters teaching the class she almost didn't make it to the first time.
Coley no longer feels that way.
How the classes began
The gun safety classes were established the Meridian Police Department about 20 years ago, when a group of officers taught women-only classes.
Members would practice at the police shooting range, but after a while the ladies felt it was time to create their own club.
Over the years the club has grown to 36 members, ranging in age from 30 to 75 and including three men. They are proud that they still have three of the charter members Pennie Dempsey, Betty Lacy and Shirley Stodard.
What the class offers
The upcoming gun safety class will be in two sessions. The first step is an instruction class where students learn the gun basics sizes, calibers and lengths, but most importantly, safety.
Students are taught to shoot revolvers; no automatics are allowed in the class. Participants will also be taught personal defense techniques and ways to prevent break-ins and assaults. Students can bring their own gun unloaded to the class or one can be provided.
The second session of the class comes one week later at a private shooting range in Lauderdale County.
At the range, students will get one-on-one instruction and learn how to clean their guns.
Fear of guns
The ladies say many of their students want to overcome a fear of guns.
After the first class, some people find they still have a fear of guns.
All three agree being comfortable with a gun is critical.
When it comes to the question of guns being outlawed, the ladies all feel the same way.