If you're planning to give a child their first gun for Christmas this year, then you'll definitely want to have that child take advantage of the Caddo Sheriff's "First Gun Course."

Registration is currently underway for children ages 8 to 12 to participate in this invaluable educational experience.

The 4-hour class will be offered from 8 a.m. until noon on two dates - December 19th and January 9th. All classes will be held at the Sheriff's Regional Law Enforcement Training Academy, 15639 Highway One South.

Designed for kids only, the course provides basic instruction for those who may never have fired a gun but want to be able to use one safely. It's also recommended for kids who will receive a new BB gun, shotgun, or hunting rifle for Christmas.

“Children who will receive a gun for Christmas can try it for the first time in front of certified law enforcement academy firearms instructors,” Sheriff Steve Prator said. “Parents are wise to want their children to know basic firearms safety before a gun is given as a gift,” Prator said.

The course has been so popular in the last few years that national news networks have picked up the story and broadcast it around the nation.

Children are welcome to attend the course with BB guns, pellet guns, .22 rifles, and small caliber shotguns. No high-powered rifles will be allowed. Only BB's and .22 ammunition will be supplied by the training academy. Through generous donations by local citizens, Wal-Mart, and local wholesalers, those children without a gun can use one supplied at the academy. All children will shoot at both fixed targets and skeet.

There's no cost for the course, but pre-registration is required. Space is very limited, and Caddo Parish residents will be given preference. An adult must remain with the child throughout the course. To register, call Deputy Edith Pinkston at the Community Programs Division at 681-0875

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