Guns OK for self-defense, instructors say

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Betty Wilson said it was the people closest to her who inspired her to start shooting guns because they were unaware of how to handle a firearm.

Wilson has experience as both a police officer and range officer, but her experience with her family and friends led her to want to do more.

“I started to think that what I was doing wasn’t enough. I have too many friends and family who have firearms, but don’t know how to utilize them. That was when I realized that it would be best if I could help teach those how to use their firearms, whether it be in self defense or if they want to go and shoot competitively,” said Wilson.

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Wilson and Rodney May, firearms instructors, National Rifle Association certified members and owners of Classic Firearms Training in Vicksburg, spoke to the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club Tuesday about firearm awareness. They have more than 25 years’ combined firearm experience.

Wilson’s love of guns started with her shooting them occasionally with her loved ones.

“I started shooting with my friends and family. Then we started to shoot competitively. From there, I learned how to reload my own ammo, cleaning my gun, taking them apart and putting them together. From there, it just progressed. We teach people how to defend themselves, their families and their homes.”

Wilson spoke about how pleased she is with the number of women she has trained over the years.

“I have been able to teach so many women how to go and find a firearm that fits them and then learn how to utilize it. Without this knowledge, it is useless and it will get someone hurt. So, all women need to know how to do it.”

Wilson said women shouldn’t be afraid of guns because they need them just as much as a man would.

“There are so many women who are independent, single moms and living by themselves. If something happened to them, then they wouldn’t be able to protect themselves if they didn’t have a gun and knowledge of how to use it.”

Wilson pointed out how letting your guard down is mistake that people make on a daily basis.

“When you walk home and open your door, your guard is gone because you think that you are safe. I can walk into anyone’s house and point out spots where a perpetrator will be hiding. It’s situations like this that is why owning a gun and using it correctly is important.”

Wilson encouraged everyone to become members of the NRA for their protection in the event that they have to shot someone out of self-defense.

“What lots of people don’t know about the NRA is that if you use a firearm and you are an NRA member, the program will pay for your lawyer.”


May said his focus is teaching the entire family how to properly use firearms so that they can be prepared for danger, including children.

“Teaching the families about firearms is important so that there won’t be any accidental shootings in the home. Growing up in my home, we had firearm in every corner. I did the same thing with my children. It’s good to teach your kids at an early age how to properly use a firearm so that they can protect themselves in case they have to when their parents aren’t around,” said May.

May stressed the importance of being aware of what is happening around you.

“I really like teaching this to people because you should be aware of your situation, no matter if you’re at home or getting out of your car. You should always know who’s around you.”

“When perpetrators see you walking while looking at your cell phone or tablet, they know that you have no clue about what’s going on.”

May gave some pointers on how to say aware at all times.

“You are aware when you keep your head up and look around. If you see someone who is looking right at you, look right back at him or her. Looking back at them makes them realize that if they harm you, then you can easily identify them because you looked at them a saw how they looked and what they were wearing.”Gun