Local hunters weigh in on gun control laws, firearm safety - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Local hunters weigh in on gun control laws, firearm safety

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Conservation officer Mike Kellner demonstrates how to handle a rifle during a hunter education course. Conservation officer Mike Kellner demonstrates how to handle a rifle during a hunter education course.

More than 15,000 people go through Indiana hunter education courses each year. Some of those hunters say they are among the most responsible group of gun owners because of rigorous safety courses.  

"I was shot in the head out rabbit hunting one time, my orange hat fell off and as I went down to pick it up, the man saw the shadow and shot the shadow and shot me in the head," Anthony Schmitt said.

Schmitt knows the value of a hunter education course.  

"It teaches them the pistol, it teaches them what not to do, to make sure the gun in unloaded, how to check it out, it teaches them the shotgun the same way," he said.

Hunters have been keeping a close eye on changing gun laws. But Schmitt says President Obama's call for stricter gun regulations including a 10-round limit for magazines shouldn't affect the sport.

"Out hunting, it won't effect us too much because you only need one shot to kill your animal. You don't need a thirty round clip, 50 round clip, to kill an animal, that's senseless," Schmitt said.

Charles Johnson says those limitations are in place to protect people and he says safety is a top priority.

"It's not really going to limit me as far as what I've got, but I'm sure it's going to limit a lot of people," Johnson said.

That's why he sat his son, Cameron, down when he was only six-and-a-half years old for his first lesson in gun safety.  

"Before he even started using a rifle we went through rifle safety for about six months before we even put anything in the chamber," Johnson said.

Four years later, Cameron is still learning.  

"I wanted to learn how to hunt so nobody get hurts and I do it safely. They tell you how to carry and use your gun while hunting," Cameron said.

The safety tips Cameron, now ten years old, learns here will also help him educate others, should they ever come across a weapon in the real world.  

Indiana conservation officer Mike Kellner thinks all children should be educated about gun safety.  

"It simply makes sense that everybody knows fire arms safety, whether you hunt or not. Most homes in Indiana have a gun in the house, everyone should know firearm safety," Kellner said.

For more information on hunter education courses, visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website.

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