Experts say precaution important in gun handling

Paul Whitesell trains people in gun handling at the Training Range in Austintown

CCW permits

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Until last year, anyone who wanted a concealed carry weapon permit had to go through 12 hours of training. Ohio House Bill 234 changed that, dropping training hours down to eight.

Paul Whitesell is the chief range safety officer at the Training Range, a gun range in Austintown. Whitesell said training for a CCW permit includes six hours of book training and two hours of shooting at the range. It also includes certified instructors showing safe gun handling, as well as how to load and unload a gun.

“Right now, the training that’s needed to get a CCW license is a total of eight hours. It’s six hours of basically book training and/or online training, and it’s two hours of gun range and live-fire training,” Whitesell said.

Whitesell said during the training sessions, the biggest mistakes he sees are safety infractions, including not pointing the weapon in a safe direction.

“We teach them that. We teach them to keep their finger off the trigger ’til they’re ready to shoot,” he said.

He also said choosing a proper holster is important.

“Holster selection is important also, because of a lot of holsters you can either buy them that they will cover the trigger guard. Some do not cover the trigger guard,” he said.

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene said you can have a lot of gun training but still be subject to an accident.

Dionte Robinson, 24, of Youngstown, is charged with felony child endangerment in connection with the shooting of a 3-year-old girl on Saturday. Robinson has a certified CCW permit, but investigators say he accidentally shot a three-year-old girl in the legs when the gun he removed from his waistband went off.

“Something that’s negligent is negligent,” Greene said. “You can take all the training in the world and be the most proficient marksman, most proficient handler of a weapon, and all of that, and then you make a stupid move like that then the consequences are sometimes irreversible.”

Greene said he believes eight hours of training is sufficient for some people who carry a gun, while others may need more training.

Back at the range, Whitesell is an advocate for more training.

“Your first mistake could very well be your last mistake, not only for you, but for anyone that’s around you,” he said.

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