Illinois gun range to offer free classes to teachers

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (AP) - Training slots are filling up quickly at a suburban gun range in Illinois that is offering free concealed carry classes for teachers.

The On Target Range & Tactical Training Center in Crystal Lake announced Monday that it would reserve two free seats for teachers or other school personnel at each of it's concealed to carry classes. But co-owner Judy Claxton said they've since expanded the offer to six seats to accommodate high demand.

The class is offered about four times a month and covers the two-day, 16-hour course required by state law for a license. It goes over various scenarios and participants are given target practice.

Claxton said the gun range is planning a teachers-only class for 24 students March 26 and 27, as well as classroom active shooter training sessions at a later date.

Arming teachers as a defense against school shooters has re-emerged since President Donald Trump endorsed the idea following the shooting massacre that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month.

Illinois law currently prohibits concealed carry license holders from bringing guns into schools. But Tom Dorsch, gun range director of operations, said On Target's classes will prepare school workers in case the law changes.

"We respect what teachers are doing and we want to at least give them the training," Dorsch said. "We're teaching good law-abiding people who are responsible enough to know how to carry a gun and keep it in a safe location."

Dorsch said he acknowledges that there are risks to having a gun in a school, but he said the training will address how to decide whether to use deadly force. The class also teaches participants firearm basics, including cleaning, safety and carrying a gun.

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