BENTON, Tenn. - Benton Police Department officials have received an overwhelming response to their recent offer to conduct handgun permit classes, Chief Rocky King said.
The first class, scheduled for March 11-12, filled up within a couple of days of the announcement, King said, and so did the second class set for April 18-19.
A third class scheduled for May 23-24 is filling up quickly. Each class can take up to 40 students.
King, along with Detective Ken Ritenour of the Benton Police Department and state Rep. Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, will serve as class instructors.
The two-day classes will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. The first night will consist of classroom training at Benton City Hall; the second will take place at the Cleveland Hunting, Rifle and Pistol Club's shooting range on Leadmine Valley Road in Bradley County. Enrollment is $5 to cover the club's range maintenance expenses.
The decision to qualify as a Tennessee-certified handgun safety school grew out of discussions with Watson after the December elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., King said.
He said national talk about possibly banning certain types of weapons has caused a number of people to fear losing their Second Amendment rights -- a notion shared by several people who have enrolled in the firearm training classes.
King echoed support for the Second Amendment, saying, "I believe the law-abiding citizens of the City of Benton and Polk County have the right to protect themselves and their families."
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.