Gun safety workshop deliberately focuses on personal protection | news

ANDERSON – Presenters at a weekend workshop designed to provide unbiased information on gun safety said their message is often lost in the political storm that seems to follow gun control issues everywhere.

An audience of about 40 people — almost all women — crowded into the basement of the Second Missionary Baptist Church in Anderson to listen to a panel discussing Indiana’s new permitless-carry law, ideas to consider before buying a gun are to be taken into account, and what speaks against it Laws mean when it comes to gun ownership.

“I think we, as women, are a demographic that tends to be very vulnerable,” said Betsy Pearson, owner of A-Town Event Production and organizer of the workshop. “As our society evolves and we all get a little older, we start to look around corners and ask ourselves what can I do to best protect myself, my home and my family?”

Many in attendance were current gun owners looking for tips and other advice on finding reliable, informative shooting courses, practice ranges, and other activities.

Jennifer Chamberlain partially attended, she said, to ensure she doesn’t overlook potential safety issues related to the type of gun she owns.

“There is never enough information about gun safety and I see so much on the news where guns are not being used safely,” said Chamberlain, who has owned a gun for about five years. “I just wanted to catch up on any new information that might come out or things I might not be thinking of – and keep them in mind as far as gun safety goes.”

William “Stan” Young, a retired deputy chief of police for the Anderson Police Department, called guns “necessary tools” for self-defense.

“You are adults,” he told the group. “You are responsible adults. I want to give you some information about how dangerous these necessary tools are.”

Recent data on accidental firearm injuries and fatalities reinforce Young’s argument. According to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, nearly 500 people die each year nationwide from accidental gun injuries, and these injuries account for approximately 37% of all non-fatal gun injuries.

Young’s son and panelist William “Boo” Young, a public information officer for the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, said gun safety is a topic that cannot be discussed often enough.

“We have a significant number of accidental discharges,” he said. “It’s always good to talk about gun safety, no matter which side of the aisle you’re sitting on.”

Panelists also discussed alternative protection devices, including tasers and pepper spray, noting that every individual should do serious research and consider a variety of factors – including daily routine and where they live – when deciding whether to buy a gun.

“The best way to feel safe is not to get armed first, it’s educated first,” Pearson said. “That’s what we want to get out of there: get educated first.”

Another panelist, Thomas McAllister, owner of Mcat5 Gunstruction & Firearms in Anderson, said the lack of gun safety knowledge among local residents is alarming. He said even those who do careful research before deciding to buy a firearm can find the process intimidating.

“There’s a lot of information out there, and a lot of it isn’t right,” he said. “We’re basically just trying to help people understand the do’s and don’ts. It’s my first time here, but I’m glad we’re doing something like this. That needs to happen more in the community.”

consequences Andy Knight on Twitter @Andrew_J_Knight or call 765-640-4809.