Basic steps...but a nice favorable piece about gun ownership and use.

Firing in Self Defense - Women and Gun Safety
by Aimee Norton
WSLS NewsChannel 10
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The National Rifle Association estimates 6 million women own at least one gun.

"I wanted to have a firearm for personal protection," says Donna Patrick.

But experts say just having a gun isn't enough to protect yourself.

Officer John Carey with the Lynchburg Crime Prevention unit points out, too many gun owners assume they know how to use the weapon.

"They think they know everything there is to know about it and unfortunately that's when unsafe accidents happen," says Carey.

"You need to know how to use the gun. A little knowledge is dangerous," says Ron Anderson of A & A Supply in Amherst.

That's where this class comes in...for women only. Anderson decided to do the class after a woman came in to his store to buy a gun, too frightened to even walk up to the counter.

"Once you've fired it you know what the gun will do and you know how it will react and so therefore if you should have to use it for defense, you've fired the gun, you know what it will do," says Anderson.

So in a crisis...if you are know if you can handle your gun.

"In a life or death situation your adrenaline is pumping, you're not thinking straight and a lot of times very few people actually hit their intended target the first time that they shoot," says Officer Carey.

The real test is out on the shooting range. Everything taught in the class from safety to how to handle a gun, loading it, even sighting it, is tested ona target, but that doesn't take away the butterflies of pulling the trigger for the first time.

<This is actually happening, and when you put that ammo in, you're like, "ok, it's going in the hole yes, but then after you do it, after you shoot it's like, "oh wow, it wasn't as difficult, or I'm not as anxious as I was," says Patrick.

After firing off 15 shots rounds, Donna Patrick was confident, even a little giddy....

"It was fun. I'm gonna do it more often," she says. "You're holding it, and it's not, you're not afraid of it anymore, ok, the fear factor is gone."

But she was quick to admit, it's not as easy as it looks. She feels she can handle a gun...

"With practice, with practice."

Anderson says, "Don't just buy a gun and think you're gonna be the greatest thing in the world with it. PractIce with it. It's fun."

As long as you understand how to safely and accurately use it.

"Whether it's intentional or whether it's accidental, once a gun goes off, that's it," says Officer Carey.

You can't take it back, but you can empower yourself.

"I started something, I finished it, and I can do it," concludes Patrick.

To get a concealed carry permit in Virginia you must complete a gun safety course, unless you have served in the military.

We asked the Commonwealth's Attorney in Lynchburg about using a gun for self defense. He said the Virginia Supreme Court calls it a law of have the right to shoot if you fear your life is in danger.!localnews