By Douglas Yu – January 19, 2013  DSC_0191

While Americans have been embroiled in tough gun control debates, some are learning how to shoot safely.

This morning it was a packed house at the Boston Firearms Training Center in Revere.  About 50 students were in the school’s firearm safety course required for all Massachusetts gun licenses.

“I’m usually not that busy, but today, people are scrambling to get a license,” said instructor Tom Cheffro.

The school also provides all necessary course work for residents to obtain their Massachusetts Class A and Class B, License To Carry and Firearms Identification Card (FID).

Tom Cheffro is from Revere and he has been teaching gun safety courses for 17 years. He teaches his students the basics about how different types of handguns are assembled, how accidents happen, and what precautions should be taken to minimize possible dangers.

The country is still reeling from last month’s tragic gun shooting deaths of 20 children and 6 teachers and staff including the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.  As a result New York State has passed tough gun control laws. More and more Americans are recognizing the importance of gaining knowledge about how to use their ammunition safely.

“You go to school, you don’t expect some maniac to come to your school and threaten you with a gun, you don’t know what crap’s going to happen,” said the 43-year-old Cheffro.

The students are required first to watch a half hour safety video issued by the National Rifle Association. Then after a short break, Cheffro presents his own slideshow on gun safety. The end of the course is the hands-on segment where students learn how to properly handle and shoot a gun.

“It’s absolutely necessary to feel safe and in control when you own a gun,” said Johnny Moncada who is from Lynn, Massachusetts. “I think everyone should learn how to work a pistol safely. We also should be aware of those who have mental health issue and mind set issues in the past.”

Moncada is working to obtain his gun license this year. And he is not the only one who is dedicated to gun safety. Twenty-five-year-old Allyson Papa is from Falmouth. She is a big Second Amendment advocate but believes everyone should take safety and training courses before owning a gun.

“I’ve fired before, and knowing for instance a hangfire, I wasn’t aware of that,” said Papa. A hangfire is when there is an unexpected delay between pulling the trigger and the ignition of the powder often often mistaken for a dud. However, the safety course will tell you not to immediately remove the dead round. It would be harmful to the handler if the round were to ignite outside the weapon.

“Having known about that I think I would’ve been a little more comfortable, especially with other people firing without having that safety knowledge,” Papa said.