Gun safety and home invasions - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Gun safety and home invasions

(WTVM) - With several recent home invasions in Columbus, there's been more interest in firearms in our area.

On the heels of Monday's crime on Club House Road, four alleged intruders were in court Wednesday, and all pleaded not guilty. 

One of the homeowners fired his gun and hit one suspect, who's still in the hospital.

How can you safely protect yourself at home? We spoke to a gun expert and a local mom who's introducing her teen daughter to firearms.

Shooting to protect, not to kill – that's what a Columbus man told police he did when intruders stormed into his girlfriend's home on Club House Road.

While family members of the home invasion suspects argued outside court, another family is preparing for potential intruders. 

Marci Hankins is putting a gun into the hands of her 14-year-old daughter Brianna Currington for the first time...not as a toy, but as a tool that could save her life and others.

"We have guns in the house for personal safety and I feel it's important she learns how to shoot," Hankins said.  

"I need to know how to shoot them to protect myself if need be," Currington said. 

John Wilkes, an NRA-certified instructor at Shooters in Columbus says the interest in personal protection is spiking, but what does someone do if they want to buy their first gun?

"Seek advice either from a family friend, get some training, find someone who's experienced with firearms," Wilkes advised. "It takes about 2-3 hours to train a novice so they understand gun safety." 

"You don't point it unless you're planning on shooting it," Hankins added. 

Local gun experts say the best place to store a firearm at home is in a lockable safe.

"It's really your job to know where your guns are and to keep them locked up out of unintended hands," Wilkes said.  

The firearms instructor, who's taught people ages eight to 90, says refer to your state law when it comes to how you can legally use your gun to protect yourself.

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