MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As WREG works towards a “Gun Safe Memphis,” one retired Sheriff’s captain hosted a training designed to help young community members.
There have been many accidental shootings involving children causing a call for gun reform, and a Memphis man is looking to take a hands-on approach to address the issue.
Class was underway for 25 kids Sunday at a gun range. Former Shelby County Sheriff captain, Bennie Cobb, led this effort he called a life’s mission.
“It’s been said if you can save one, my goal is to save every one of them,” Cobb said. “We don’t see another child in an accident where they are accidentally shot.”
It is an outcome 15-year-old Tyler Blaine knows all too well and is one of the reasons why he signed up for the course.
“I lost cousins to guns and friends,” Blaine said. “So I feel like that people shouldn’t take guns as a joke.”
Last year, nearly 28% of all children treated for gunshot wounds at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital were from accidental shootings.
Over the course of three hours, all of the kids learned about the dangers of guns and how to properly use them. It is a lesson that their instructors, including Barbara Farmer-Tolbert, believe should be taught when they are young.
“It is very important to get them comfortable with guns at a young age,” Farmer-Tolbert said. “So like I said, that curiosity is not there of what happens if I pick up a gun or what happens if I squeeze a trigger.”
These are lessons that Cobb believes could be the difference between life and death as the future hangs in the balance.
“We want them to respect guns,” he said.
Children who attended the event with certified instructors had permission and consent of their parents. Cobb also offers the courses regularly throughout the year.