Owning a gun brings on a whole new level of responsibility. Course, the rash of gun violence we've seen in Shreveport this year would present a really good argument to that statement.

So, let me rephrase, "responsible gun ownership", requires respect of the firearm, respect of its potential danger, and respect of human life.

Those are just some of the lessons your child will learn at the Caddo Sheriff's Office, "First Gun Course."

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Designed for children who might be receiving their first gun for Christmas this year, this course provides basic instruction for those who may never have fired a gun but want to be able to use one safely. And it doesn't matter if its a high powered rifle they'll receive, or a shotgun or just a BB gun. All guns require the same protocol when it comes to safety.

Registration is now underway for children ages 8 to 12 to participate in the course. The four-hour course will be offered from 8:00 am until 12:00 pm on two dates. December 18, 2021 and January 8, 2022.

All classes will be held at the Sheriff's Regional Training Academy, 15639 Highway One South.

According to Sheriff Steve Prator, “Children who will receive a gun for Christmas can try it for the first time in a safe environment with the help of a trained Caddo sheriff’s deputy.” He goes on to say, “Parents are wise to want their children to know basic firearms safety before a gun is given as a gift, and I would strongly urge them to register their child for this program.”

Children are welcome to attend the course with BB guns, pellet guns, .22 rifles, and small caliber shotguns. No high-powered rifles will be allowed. Only BB's and .22 ammunition will be supplied by the training academy.

Through generous donations by local citizens and local wholesalers, those children without a gun can use one supplied at the academy. Participants will shoot skeet and fixed targets supplied by the National Rifle Association Foundation.

There's no cost for the course, but pre-registration is required. Space is limited, and Caddo Parish residents will be given preference.

An adult must remain with the child throughout the course. To register, call CPSO Community Programs at 681-0875.

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