"First Shots" Aims to Educate Yuma Gun Owners

"First Shots" Aims to Educate Yuma Gun Owners

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YUMA - It's a growing trend seen across the country, and here in the desert southwest. People buying guns and learning how to use them.

Locally, there's a class called "First Shots." It's a beginner's class for people who have little or no experience with guns. Ross Nicolette has taught the course for 12 years.

"First Shots is a class that was designed for somebody that knows absolutely nothing about firearms."

Nicolette served in the United States Marine Corps. After that he served with the Yuma Police Department for 10 years, 8 of those years were on SWAT. He knows his way around a gun.

For three hours today, he shared his knowledge with eighteen people. How to handle a gun.  What different types of ammunition look like. Aiming practices. Shooting stances.

Safety is a constant theme of the instructional course.

So who takes a course like first shots?

"Mostly women, believe it or not. I would say an average of 60 to 70 percent of the class is normally women," says Nicolette.

Seems he's right. I took a head count in the class. Eighteen people in all; 12 of them were women. Sixty-seven percent.  

Armeda Freel was one of the women in today's class.

"I felt like the way the economy's going and the world, I needed to have protection sometime maybe not right now, but eventually," explains Freel.

Freel bought a gun a couple of years ago, but now wants to become familiar with its use and safe handling.

The course ended with Freel and the other "First Shots" students firing 10 rounds at targets in shooting range at Sprague's, who puts on the "First Shots" course. While not everyone hit the bull's eye on the target, everyone walked away feeling more comfortable with handguns and more informed about how to handle them safely.

The next "First Shots" course is scheduled for January 23rd from 9am to noon at Sprague's Sports on W. 32nd Street. For more information, call (928) 726-0022.  

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