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Garcia, Mexico (CNN) — Officials in a northern Mexican city plagued by violence say a new course will take a fresh approach toward protecting citizens: Training people to handle and shoot guns.

The aim of the approach, says Garcia Mayor Jaime Rodriguez Calderon, is putting a stop to crime in the 40,000-person city in Nuevo Leon state.

“Many people call me because their son or their husband has been kidnapped, or some family member’s car has been stolen. I said to myself, ‘Wow, how can we, the citizens, defend ourselves,’ ” Rodriguez told CNNMexico.com.

Twice this year, gunmen have tried to assassinate Rodriguez, who has earned the nickname of Bronco for his strong personality.

The training for people with weapons permits in Garcia is part of a phase of Rodriguez’s security program aimed at “involving the citizens in defense of the region.”

Source: Javier Estrada for CNN.

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