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Golden word for gun safety: responsibility

Scott Stumpf, a law enforcement and firearms instructor at Alexandria Technical and Community College and Parkers Prairie police officer, discusses the different types of ammunition during a permit to carry class March 2. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 1 / 2
This is an example of some of the printed materials handed out at the permit to carry class put on by Customized Training at the Alexandria Technical and Community College. The class is taught by Scott Stumpf, a law enforcement and firearms instructor and police officer. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 2 / 2

Scott Stumpf believes that responsibility is the key word for any gun owner.

Stumpf, who has been a fully-licensed peace officer since 1986, is a law enforcement instructor at Alexandria Technical and Community College and has been a firearms instructor for 11 years.

Through the college's Customized Training Center, Stumpf will be teaching a permit to carry class. He emphasized that he teaches a permit to carry class, not a conceal and carry class, because Minnesota is not a "conceal and carry" state.

"If you carry in Minnesota, you don't have to conceal, you can carry open," Stumpf said.

However, he prefers for people who choose to carry to conceal their weapons. The reason, he said, is because you could become a target when a dangerous situation arises.

"It is foolish to advertise you are carrying a weapon," he said. "Instead, I am huge fan of conceal and carry."

Stumpf stressed that if people choose to carry a handgun, they need to be responsible, educated on the laws and rules, and be vigilant about how to use their weapon.

He also said those who carry a handgun need to understand there are times to intervene and times to be "just a good witness."

Stumpf, who knows that guns and gun control are hot issues after the multitude of school and other shootings, touched on last month's Florida school shooting. He said one "game changer" was that the active shooter put his gun down and walked out with the other students.

"Not all shooters are dressed to look like what we think a shooter is going to look like," Stumpf said. "This time, he blended in. Things are changing. It is getting tougher for law enforcement officers."

He believes changes will come from that shooting, and has no problem with raising the possession age to 21. He does have issues with those who are not responsible gun owners. He's still an advocate of allowing people to carry a weapon, as long as they do it responsibly and follow the law.

Stumpf started teaching gun safety and the permit to carry class because he wanted to do what he could to educate and train people properly.

"Guns don't just go off accidentally," he said. "Guns go off because people pull the trigger."

About the class

Through the college's Customized Training Center, Stumpf will teach a permit to carry class Saturday, March 31, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost of the class is $145. Pre-registration is required. To register, call 320-762-4510.

Those who don't own their own firearm can rent a Glock 9mm pistol for $5. Participants need to provide their own ammunition and eye protection. More information can be obtained when calling to register.

The permit to carry class is designed for the novice and will cover handgun basics, shooting stances, target areas and Minnesota state statutes regarding carrying a handgun. There will be a written test and evaluation, along with range time and qualification.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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