Mike Krutsinger of Oakland believes in gun rights and self defense.

“I think it’s my right to be able to defend myself and my family,” he said Saturday during a pause in the schedule for a concealed gun carry class at the home of Bill Culp, a certified National Rifle Association instructor.

Though Illinois does not have a concealed-carry option for gun owners, Krutsinger and his classmates signed up for Culp’s class so they could get a Florida-based certificate making it legal for them to carry a firearm in 30 states. In addition, the students are learning safe and legal ways to use a firearm under the worst of conditions.

“I’ve been shooting for years, but here I’m learning the proper way to do it,” Krutsinger said.

The students in Culp’s classes have diverse backgrounds. The group on Saturday included a judge, a chiropractor, a former educator and a woman who hunts deer, but had never really handled a handgun. They also have different reasons for taking the class taught at Culp’s Charleston residence off 18th Street on the south side of the city.

“I feel gun safety is very important. We’re not here to be Rambo. We want to protect ourselves the right way and not be trigger happy,” said Brad Cox of Charleston.

“In this day and age it’s good to have a course like this one. I’ve been shooting since I was 6 or 7 but I’ve learned new things today I didn’t realize about guns,” said Brandon Combs of Charleston. “And when we leave Illinois for a trip we want to conceal carry a gun the right way.”

Culp said his class is not about vigilantism or intimidating others with gunplay. His course covers the moral and legal responsibilities of all gun owners, whether they are exercising their concealed-carry rights in other states or protecting their homes from intruders. The class involves instruction on shooting different firearms, as well as carrying them.

Read the rest of Herb Meeker’s story at Journal Gazette, Times-Courier.

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