CHARLOTTE -- Dozens of teachers are learning how to use their weapons. The Rowan County Wildlife Association invited school teachers to a free concealed carry course Saturday. The turnout was so large that the organization had to schedule a second event.
More than 50 teachers from several counties suited up and took to the firing range this weekend.
"We opened it up to Cabarrus and Rowan Counties, and then they started calling from Stanly, and then they called from Davidson," said instructor Claude Paris.
The Rowan County Wildlife Association offered a free concealed carry class to school teachers. Three instructors said it is something that needed to happen, now more than ever.
"The whole purpose is to try and show the public the problem that we have with gun-free zones around schools and other places. We've seen the shootings in Connecticut. There was no protection for the children there," said instructor Steve Karriker.
Steve Karriker said he hopes the laws change and believes it starts with community awareness.
But for teacher Robert Klinger, fear in the classroom is not what led him to take the course.
"I started teaching at the time of Columbine. No, it's not that. I've waited until now to get my conceal carry," said Klinger.
Klinger said it was an opportunity he just couldn't pass up.
But for others, education is key, teacher or not.
"I feel like, just like anything else as a parent, if I'm going to allow my kids to do something or be able to talk to my kids about something, I have to educate myself first," said teacher Jennifer Brink.
Gary Steeley has taught thousands of people about gun safety and why he thinks carrying a weapon is in most people's best interest. He said whether or not educators will have access to guns at school one day, becoming more familiar with them can only be a positive thing.
"We have now become a society that we are scared to death of a firearm. Firearms can be dangerous, true, but they can also save your life," said Steeley.
The second free course for teachers will be held next Saturday at the Rowan County Wildlife Association.