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Locals take firearms class in light of Florida school shooting

There have been 18 school shootings so far in 2018. The most recent taking place in Parkland, Florida. It was an incident that still has the country shaken up. This included Aaron Gerth from Robinson, Illinois. He said it was a situation that makes him reflect more on protecting himself.

Posted: Feb. 18, 2018 5:24 PM
Updated: Feb. 18, 2018 11:48 PM

MARSHALL, Ill. (WTHI)-There have been 18 school shootings so far in 2018. The most recent taking place in Parkland, Florida. It was an incident that still has the country shaken up.

This included Aaron Gerth from Robinson, Illinois. He said it was a situation that makes him reflect more on protecting himself.

"I mean you never want to hear anything like that it’s kind of more motivation to educate yourself about the second amendment and firearms and that's partially why I’m here today," said Gerth.

Gerth came to Van Sandts Small Arms Academy over the weekend. It's a monthly class held in Marshal Illinois.

John Van Sandt has been teaching the class since 2014. He says more people have been showing interest in taking the class over the past couple months.

"Next month we already have six students and normally we don't see that many this far ahead," said Van Sandt.

In Illinois, it is required to take this class to get their small firearm conceal carry license. The class not only goes over state laws and how to maintain your weapons.

The class also goes over how to approach a situation where you would have to use your weapon. Which to Van Sandt says is extremely important no matter what scenario you might be in.

"We try to give students a very realistic approach to a threat because we want to keep the student out of trouble and we want to make sure that the population around them is safe," said Van Sandt.

Even though the debate on firearms will most likely continue for months to come those like Gerth is just happy to have this extra knowledge. Not only to defend himself but to protect others as well.

"You got to keep an open mind, keep an open mind and sign up for a class and educate yourself," said Gerth.

Van Sandt says that if Illinois state laws change allowing teachers to conceal carry weapons in schools to protect their students he will hold lessons for teachers for free. So far only a handful of states in the united states allow teachers to do so.

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