With rights come responsibilities.
Firearms safety is everybody'sbusiness.
With that in mind, the Carroll County Sheriff's Department, in conjunction with the National Rifle Association and the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, is presenting instructional classes on home security and handgun safety for the home.
This firearm-safetycourse is part of Sheriff's Department's efforts to find creative ways of using community resources to benefit Carroll's citizens.
Thefirearms-safety course sponsored by the Sheriff's Department uses volunteers from within the agency as well as citizens from the community who know gun safety.
Carroll County Sheriff John Brown has strongly advocated this program.
"If this course saves one life, it's worth it," Brown has said.
Brown believes law-abiding citizens not only have a right to bear arms, but an obligation to learn how to safely use that firearm.
Brown is concerned that too many residents own firearms and do not know how to handle them.
With that in mind,he enacted the program using NRA course materials. The course is taught in three separate sections.
The first section is on handgun safety, the second on self-protection, and the third is on the legal issues involved. This final section is presented by Carroll County State's Attorney Tom Hickman.
The course is being taught in three four-hour sessions.
The first two classroom sessions are taught in theSheriff's Department training room and the last session consists of the live firing session taught at a local gun club range.
Brown decided to use the NRA study course since it is one of the groups best qualified to handle this type of instruction.
Contrary to the opinion of some police officials -- such as Col. Leonard Supenski, a high-ranking member of the Baltimore County Police Department -- the NRA is not a group of "xenophobic zealots," a term used by proponents of 1988 state legislation banning some firearms.
The National Rifle Association has been a national proponent to enact legislation callingfor a mandatory five-year sentence in addition to regular sentencingwhenever a handgun is used to commit a crime.
The Carroll County Sheriff's Department, like the NRA, is well suited to assist in this training.
The department was presented with a trophy for marksmanship by the United States Department of Defense.
The award was presented to Brown and the same team of instructors teaching firearms safety.
The NRA and the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association believe those who break the law should be locked up and that swift andsure punishment is what is needed to control crime, not the continued erosion of individual rights.
As I see it, we need to educate gun owners about the responsibilities that come with firearms and theirownership.
The overriding reason for the purchase of any firearm is personal and home security, a right guaranteed in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
You and I have a right to own a firearm. But you and I also have an obligation to know how to handle that firearm and what the firearm is capable of.
We need to move away from the liberal stigma that owning a firearm is a prelude to violence. And, we must recognize the need for security and especially the need for safety.