It’s still dark out this morning, below freezing outside and pretty cramped in this back room of a gun shop.
But the nine people seated at fold-up tables and chairs are sitting straight for the lesson in firearms safety.
There’s a 12-year-old boy here with his father. The father is a long-time firearms owner who wants to make sure his son isn’t afraid of guns.
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The majority of students are women. Some who want to make sure they’re familiar with the firearms already brought into their homes by husbands or boyfriends. There’s also a teacher who said she wanted to be prepared in case her school district chose to arm faculty. She didn’t have to pay the $50 class fee. The store regularly offers free classes to teachers.
“What kind of gun should you buy? It depends on what you want it for,” said Mike Rioux, the owner and operator of Red Dot Arms in Lake Villa, Illinois.
Rioux is the teacher today. He’s a Canadian expatriate who’s been around firearms his whole life. He’s a licensed instructor and a passionate gun owner.
“My grandfather said to me when I was 12, if you can shoot this 12 gauge shotgun, it’s yours,” Rioux recalled.
He handled it well and so began a love affair.
Shotguns are what Rioux suggested for home safety and self-defense.
He said the bullets used for an AR-15, what some people believe is the best choice, will go through the room you’re in, the next room and into your neighbor’s house.
“It can go for miles and miles,” Rioux said.
That’s why Rioux says buckshots used in shotguns are the way to go.
“At this distance, it would make a huge hole in the drywall. You gotta know what’s beyond your target. If you’re in the house, use the smallest bb you’ve got,” Rioux recommended.
He started by explaining how different firearms work because he said it was important to practice regularly. Once a week at least, so it’s important to make sure you’re spending money on the right equipment and the right ammo, especially considering how expensive ammo was at the time of our interview.
Here are some highlights from the class:
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