SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Dozens of women learned gun safety and practiced shooting Saturday during the first "Ladies, Guns and Ammo" event.
The Savannah Area Republican Women's Club hosted the program, and the Chatham County Sheriff's Office taught the course at its shooting range.
"We've talked about doing this, but Marolyn Overton, who's the president, finally kind of got it together [by] working with the Sheriff," said Elizebeth Overton, past president of the Savannah Area Republican Women's Club. "With all that's going on, we wanted the women to be able to take care of themselves, and learning how to shoot a gun and not be afraid of it is very important for all of us. It takes away your fear because you know you can defend yourself."
Lt. Gary Murphy, Chatham County Sheriff's Office range master, said the department hosts civilian gun training classes twice a month on the first Friday and third Saturday.
"Everybody that buys a gun should learn how to use it safely and correctly to be a responsible gun owner, and this is a good class to take in order to achieve that," Lt. Murphy said.
The instruction started with a classroom session where the women learned about things like proper grip when holding a gun, body placement when shooting and safety practices for storing a gun.
"You always want to teach safe and responsible gun ownership, and that's what we want to do here," Lt. Murphy said.
Overton said, "All they pushed was really safety, safety, safety. It was repeated, repeated, repeated, which I think that's very, very good. Then, they talked about practicing."
Next, the women and their instructors headed to the shooting range for target practice.
"We do coach a shooter when we're up there," Lt. Murphy said. "We're going to stand next to you. We're going to make sure you operate the gun safely. We're going to try to make sure that you adhere to to the fundamentals of shooting."
This wasn't Overton's first time shooting a gun, but she said this class was more relaxed, fun and educational than her previous shooting experiences.
"Just a great environment to learn it,"Overton said. "So next time I go with my husband, I'm not going to be intimidated because I know how to do it, honey."
Lt. Murphy said, "It's fun to teach anybody how to shoot. I love doing my job."
Overton said she and several of the other women in the class are now asking for guns for Christmas, and she encourages other women to learn to shoot as well.
"It was just a lot of fun," she said. "I would encourage other women's groups to do this. The Sheriff is so sweet about us coming out here and doing everything, and I'm sure he'd work with any of them. It just makes you feel better about yourself and your community. Take advantage of it."