Riverview resident, Sierra Rock, successfully completed the four-hour concealed weapons course offered at Brandon Gun School.

Too often we hear about tragic events related to gun safety. Recently, this was brought to the forefront in our own community when 12-year-old Diego Duran, from Ruskin, collapsed from a  bullet wound to the head on New Year’s Eve from celebratory gunfire in the neighborhood. He is still in the hospital recovering.

In an effort to understand firearms and gun safety concerns, I recently completed a four-hour concealed weapon license class at the Brandon Gun School with my 19-year-old daughter.

The first two hours of the course offered hands-on safety training, firearm handling, firearm parts and their operation and shooting fundamentals. During the class I also learned how to select, clean and store a firearm. The second part of the class taught us how to transport firearms, the laws regarding the transportation of firearms, reciprocity with other states and possession restrictions.

However, the most valuable part of this experience for me was learning the various safety tips, safety scenarios for your children and how to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.

The instructor, Terri, (who asked to not use her last name) has been teaching these types of courses for more than 11 years. “I am very passionate about keeping your kids safe,” she explained. She asked each of the attendees in our class how many children we had and their ages.

The Brandon Gun School offers a junior gun safety class, teaching children as young as 6 years old the importance and seriousness related to guns. This four-hour class costs $69. “Your children spend time at the other people’s homes,” said Terri. “This class will increase the odds that they will do the right things when a gun is discovered while at a friend’s home.”

Many students attending the class had children younger than 10 years old. Vicky Ovesen, who attended the class, said, “I wanted to become educated about proper gun safety for myself and my family.”

At the end of our four-hour course, we were asked to shoot a nine-shot 22LR revolver, which we all eagerly and successfully completed. Upon conclusion of this course, I received a certificate which allows me to apply for the seven-year concealed weapons permit through the State of Florida, if I choose to do so.

The concealed weapon license classes are offered every Sunday from 1-5 p.m. and on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.  The cost is $49 per student.

Brandon Gun School is located in LaViva Plaza at 776 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. For more information, visit www.2ndAmendmentaArmory.com or call 210-0929.

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Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.