By Amy Wenk

“Every year the gun laws change,” Sandy Springs Police Lt. Bo Eskew told about 10 residents Nov. 4 at the department’s headquarters on Barfield Road.

“You need to know how to use [weapons] legally and safely.”

That night, police hosted a free gun-safety class to instruct citizens on safety, storage, cleaning, permits, liability, shooting stances and proper procedures.

It was the first class of its kind offered by the department, but plans are to hold the three-hour class twice a month beginning in January.

Lt. Eskew explained current gun laws, including what constitutes deadly force. “We want you to have a gun, but you have to understand there are repercussions if you use one,” he said.

Participants then practiced their shooting techniques using the Firearms Training Simulator. Like a video game, the approximately $60,000 device uses a Glock with a laser and CO2 cartridge to test a shooter’s aim and judgment in real-life scenarios, like a home invasion or school shooting.

“I thought it was very interesting and well done,” said Sandy Springs resident Mike Mabry, who attended with his wife Angie. “I’m excited that Sandy Springs Police thinks like a homeowner. They treated us like citizens, not criminals.”

The department hopes to take the course to an outdoor range with real target practice. To register for the course, email Officer Larry Jacobs at The class is limited to 14 participants.