Firing Range Offers Free Training for Teachers
The owner of Ultimate Defense Firing Range in St. Petes hopes to start a conversation about having select highly-trained, armed teachers in schools.
Owner Paul Bastean, a Lake Saint Louis police sergeant, wants to start a discussion about having select, highly-trained armed teachers in schools.
Bastean said a sign posted outside of school doors saying "gun free zone" won't prevent bad guys from walking in with guns.
"The teachers' course was to open up some realization that the only way of stopping a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he said.
Bastean said it can take law enforcement three to five minutes to arrive after a 911 call and potentially another three to five minutes to find a shooter.
Although Bastean is hopeful the classes will spark a conversation, he's realistic that most school districts in the area aren't likely to arm teachers.
"I think there's such a phobic fear of having children near guns," he said. "They don't understand the response issues."
Bastean said there's a lack of knowledge about guns among the public. He wants people to know that guns are tools.
The class teaches people who have no experience with guns about principles of marksmanship, grip, stance and different types of guns.
Response to the first two classes was so high, the St. Peters firing range is now offering four additional classes in April and May. The classes will
continue to be offered until they no longer have a response, Bastean said.
Interest in the entire firearms industry has grown in the last five years, Bastean said. He opened Ultimate Defense Firing Range about two-and-a-half years ago and quickly expanded it to 18 shooting lanes.
Now he's hoping to add an additional eight lanes, along with more space for classes and retail. Bastean said there are times when so many people want to shoot they will wait for an hour.
And the concealed carry classes are so popular, they fill up well in advance, he said.
"Things have changed so much in the last five years, especially with all of the active shooters," he said. "People just don't feel safe."
The St. Peters Planning and Zoning Commission has approved Bastean's application for a special use amendment for expansion. The issue is expected to be considered by the Board of Adjustment and the Board of Alderman in April.
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