Free gun classes focus on safety


In spite of all the political statements flying across the aisle in Washington, as well as Colorado, one county sheriff is taking steps to ensure those who do choose to carry a weapon, do so safely.

Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap is offering concealed weapons classes for local residents in an effort to enhance gun safety.

“In regards to the recent firearms debate, I can tell you that for years my staff and I have worked diligently not only to address school safety issues, but also to ensure that Elbert County is a safe place to live, work and raise a family,” said Heap in a written statement. “Additionally, I recently began offering concealed carry classes taught by ECSO deputies in an effort to enhance gun safety and provide individuals with high-level training for their constitutional right to carry a firearm.”

More than a dozen students attended a class Feb. 3 at the Quail Run Gun Club in Kiowa.

The 10-hour course began with classroom instruction and concluded on the range with live fire drills.

“One of the biggest reasons I’m taking this class is for home gun safety,” said gun owner Shannon Ehlers of Kiowa.

Ehlers, who was among four women in the class, said one of the most important things she learned was the legal ramifications of using her weapon.

“We learned about use of deadly force, when it’s appropriate and when it’s not,” she explained.

Heap feels that the national gun conversation has been sidetracked and the debate should not center around removing guns from law-abiding citizens.

“We all know that if you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns,” he said. “I am not interested in making exceptions to any constitutional right.”

Heap joins other law enforcement professionals in concern for those suffering from mental illness, who continue to populate jails and other state institutions.

“This issue has long been overlooked and I believe would address the source of the problem and not the law-abiding, God-fearing people that simply choose to embrace their rights as American citizens.”

The concealed-carry classes are offered on weekends and are currently full through the end of March.

The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office hopes to make the program ongoing.

Those interested in being added to a wait list should email a name and phone number to

Heap said in his position as elected sheriff he does not determine which laws are constitutional.

“However, know that I will utilize any and all legal means available to stop the federal government from encroaching on any of our constitutional rights as Americans,” he said. “Our right to keep and bear arms is absolute.”


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