By ARIANA BARRETT
On Friday, Feb. 16, UMW’s Firearms Club hosted a concealed carry and personal safety class. Many people turn their heads to any talk of guns, not realizing the importance of learning about them. Guns are a hot topic right now, and with all the violence and recent mass shootings in our nation, now more than ever it is important now more than ever for students to learn gun safety.
The four hour class was given by Jodi Maki, founder of GirlOnFire. According to their website, their mission is to “provide people nationwide with prevention strategies and tools in order to decrease chances of becoming a victim.”
The first half of the class was about personal safety. Maki started by delivering jarring crime statistics, to help us understand how dangerous the world is and why taking a class like this is vital.
Maki explained how it is better to be proactive instead of reactive, by initially avoiding bad situations. But if you must be reactive, it is important to use non-lethal preventative measures first, such as pepper spray and door alarms for your home.
Although it was a firearms class, Maki did a productive job reiterating that non-lethal actions should always be used first. It is always best to use a deterrence instead of a gun.
The second half of the class was about the gun laws of UMW’s campus, the different states, and the federal government. But most importantly, we were taught how to properly handle a gun to minimize risk.
According to the Center for Disease Control, from 2005-2010 there were almost 3,800 deaths from unintentional shootings, and over 1,300 of those were people under the age of 25 years old. This makes college campuses some of the most important places to teach gun safety because this affects our generation.
Some of the gun safety topics covered, such as learning how to pick up a gun and how to check a gun before shooting, would’ve cut down gun accidents by more than half. Other topics included how to hand off a gun, what problems can occur when using a firearm and how to handle them, and much more.
Since UMW does not allow guns on campus, a simulator gun was used instead. After learning about hypothetical situations, the next step is to practice shooting at a range, learning from an instructor. If an instance where you would need to use a firearm were to ever occur, it is vital to have muscle memory to assist you in a high stress situation.
Even if you never plan on using a gun, it’s still beneficial to know how to. Guns are lethal and should be handled with extreme caution, but the only way to truly stay safe is to take a class like this one and learn from a certified instructor.