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Mixed opinions about class teaching 12- and 13-year-olds firearm safety

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OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. -- A class offered to 12- and 13-year-olds is teaching them about the proper uses of firearms.

Parents have mixed opinions about the course.

On Saturday, eight students will learn about firearm safety at the Olive Branch Police Department.

Lt. Kevin McKenzie with the Olive Branch Police Department said after middle school students attend his course on firearm safety, they will be less likely to make bad choices.

The "Taking Aim with Safety" course helps students learn what to do if they come across a firearm, especially for recreational use. They're also taught firearm safety rules.

"Students are taught to lock this side back, the weapon is always to be pointed downward," he explained.

Some parents said it may be too early to teach middle school students about proper handling of firearms.

"A lot of them already thinking, if I pull a gun, I'm the boss of you anyway, so it's really based on how they teach them and how the parents feel about their child being taught," said Shiela Pool.

"Just regular school kids that don't have access to fishing or hunting, that don't make sense to me," said Carol Andrews.

McKenzie said it's important middle school students learn safety tips from police and not someone else.

"This is the age these-aged children are being introduced to the guns, they want to know more about them perhaps, and we'd rather them get it from the proper source instead of getting it from the streets," he said.

One parent agrees.

"If parents would teach their kids when they're young, then when they're older they don't have to worry about it," said Larry Harris.

At the end of the class, the students will go to the police department firing range.

They will also learn about ammunition.

The course is from 8 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. at the Olive Branch Police Department. There is no more space available.

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