CUBA, NY – A maximum capacity class of 17 women filled the Cuba Rod & Gun Club for a firearms safety course on Saturday.

Hosted by the Cuba Police Department, the course focused on the fundamentals of weapons safety and began with a classroom session that covered weapon familiarization and maintenance.

At the conclusion of the classroom session, Cuba Chief of Police Dustin Burch and Officers Frank Schostick, Walt Mackney and Aaron Wight led the group outside to the firing range. There, the women were able hone their shooting skills under the watchful eyes of four certified firearms instructors.

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On the range, the shooters fired in groups of three to four. The small group size allowed for one-on -one instruction, something that is not normally available during a free course. One of the goals of the session was to create a comfortable environment. . The instructors made sure they remained calm and informative when critiquing the students.

“They don’t want [students] to be uncomfortable,” Burch said.

In addition to teaching the class how to physically handle firearms, the course instructors also concentrated on the legal aspects of being responsible gun owners. Burch used a portion of the classroom session to discuss Article 35 of New York State Law, which details when it is necessary for individuals to defend themselves against third parties and use deadly force if they believe their lives or the lives of others are in danger.

One participant, Rachel Francis of Cuba, commented that she was impressed with how comfortable the instructors made her feel.

“I am so thankful that they had this vision to help women carry safely, and I hope more police departments will take notice and start doing the same,” Francis said.

Because of high interest, the Cuba Police Department plans to offer another firearms safety course for women next summer. The police department’s next community outreach event will be on Halloween at the Cuba Fire Department, 51 E. Main St., where police officers will screen candy for parents.

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