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Former police chief offers free gun class

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ARCHDALE, N.C. --- A former police chief in Archdale is offering free gun classes to teachers and medical personnel who are considering their options when it comes to carrying a weapon.

Gary Lewallen spent more than 30 years in law enforcement and has taught concealed carry permit classes for more than 20 years.

He's offering the "Justified Self Defense and Use of Deadly Force" class to educators and medical personnel for free.

He's also offering that group the "Concealed Carry Permit" class for just $6, which is the cost of the state certificate and the gun range time.

Ever since the shootings at Sandy Hook School there's been a lot of talk about arming teachers in the classroom. 

While that's not allowed in North Carolina more and more teachers are signing up to have the knowledge of how to defend themselves with a firearm.

"The police can't be everywhere. I did this for almost 34 years, I coudn't be everywhere. Officers that I managed couldn't be everywhere," said Gary Lewallen, the former Archdale Police Chief.

"I'm here to support our citizenry and make sure they get the right information as it pertains to their rights concerning using deadly force and justified self-defense. Most people in this state don't have a clue what that means."

Though the laws are very specific there are areas where they can be misinterpreted through misinformation.

That's why Lewallen and other concealed carry permit holders says classes like the one's he teaches are important.

"If you arm the educators with the knowledge and then you arm them with the weapons to defend themselves and others. That put's more people in that position to defend themselves and others in case something happens," said Chris Honeycut who works at a firefighter and also is a concealed carry permit holder.

While he can not carry a gun on his job, he has no problem with teachers carrying a gun on theirs.

"I've got children in school and I would prefer they go through a class and be able to defend my child," Honeycutt said.

Bill Harding, a Vietnam Veteran, national pistol champion and concealed carry permit holder thinks not matter what the law the criminals will find a way to get guns.

He says he carries his gun because he refuses to be a victim.

"I think the situation is the criminals going to go to where there's the least resistance," said Harding, who has never had to use his gun in self-defense.

Gary Lewallen wants to make sure gun owners aren't just armed, but armed with knowledge.

"When you pull that trigger and the bullet goes out the end of that barrel there's no way to pull it back," Lewallen said.

"I'm not asking for anybody to be a vigilante or anything like that. I'm asking for folks to be informed and make the best decision they can if they choose to do this. And I hope and pray something like this (Sandy Hook shootings ) never happens again. But what are we going to do in the meantime? We gonna set back and wait or we gonna be as informed as possible? That's what we've got to try to do."

So far about 60 people have signed up to take Lewallen's class.

Gun rights activists are lobbying the General Assembly to allow teachers with concealed carry permits to be armed on campus.

Those who are interested in registering can call Archdale Ammo & Arms at (336) 434-1522.