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Welcome to the world of firearms
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If you've never held a gun in your life, you may be the perfect candidate for the Covington Police Department's upcoming firearms class, according to instructor Sgt. Arvo Bowen.

The basic firearms instructions class is aimed toward educating those who may have thought of owning a gun or may already own a gun but have concerns about using them.

"You fear for your safety, but usually the fear of having a powerful weapon and not knowing what to do with it outweighs that fear," said Bowen.

 He hopes that by educating people on the proper and safe handling of handguns, they can feel safer and more empowered around guns.

The eight-hour, one-day class will cover a gamut of topics, including legal issues, the spectrum of use of force and deadly force, weapons selection to fit lifestyles and needs, maintenance, home safety and storage, gun permits and self defense. The class will also include instruction on how to shoot. Women often end up being better shots than men, said Bowen, because they have fewer bad habits to unlearn.

"I like it, I really like it," said Stacy Walden, a three-time class graduate who intended to apply again. "I just think its fun."

Jennifer Mercek, another alum, had grown up respecting guns since her father was a law enforcement officer but chose not to have them in the house with her 6-year-old son.

"It puts me in awe. Just what it can do to another person and body," said Mercek, a 911 dispatcher at the Covington-Newton County Communications Center.

The class began several years ago as a public service and is being offered three times this year, on April 26, July 12 and Sept. 27.

"We were getting more and more calls for people wanting to know about the laws around hand guns and how to handle them safely," said Bowen.

He said in the long run, it was going to help the City of Covington if people were more informed about when they can and can't carry guns.

"I think everyone should be familiar with them," said Walden.

The class is free and open to the public but limited to 10 people per session. The classes will be held at the firearms complex in City Pond Park. Applicants are required to be 21 or older, have no felony convictions, no convictions under the Family Violence Act and must authorize a criminal history check.

For more information, call (770) 385-2128.