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Experts: Gun safety class may not be enough to win against an attacker

Americans are buying and carrying guns in record numbers. But under pressure, some experts say the average person may not be prepared to shoot in a time of trouble. (KTUL)

Americans are buying and carrying guns in record numbers. But under pressure, some experts say the average person may not be prepared to shoot in a time of trouble.

Ladies Night at 2A Shooting Center draws a crowd, but some instructors know some women and men may not be ready to defend themselves, legally, even with a gun.

“I just kind of walk ready. All I have to do is just...," said Carolyn Hattam, motioning just how easy it is to pull her gun. “Just... behind me.”

Hattam practices with her husband. Instructors say those who carry need more than the required 16-hour class to really be ready to use their guns.

“No, it is never enough. And I try to encourage my students, even though a lot of them don’t listen to this, but this does not qualify you as a supposed gun fighter,” said Mark Wolk, who is a certified instructor for the Self Defense Act Course.

Mack McDougal, owner of San Soo Martial Arts Academy, says he had many friends who didn’t know how to handle their concealed weapons even after they received a permit to carry.

“What I found is most people have no clue,” said McDougal, who we enlisted to show us his techniques that he uses in a class to prepare individuals to defend themselves with firearms.

McDougal is an instructor, trained in Krav Maga, a martial arts technique. He challenged Channel 8 reporter Kim Jackson to draw a plastic gun, hidden in her purse, while he lunged at her from about 20 feet across the studio floor.

McDougal starts off with a countdown to the staged attack, then runs toward Kim.

“All of a sudden, you see him pull a knife,” McDougal acted out and then ran, with a plastic knife as Kim fumbled to get the plastic pistol out of her purse.

Within three seconds, McDougal was at Kim’s side, pretending to attack her, signaling that she would have lost in an actual attack. McDougal said Kim’s actions mimicked those of his students, many of whom shared their personal stories with the martial arts instructor.

“They just didn’t know what they would do. They said, ‘Hey man I got this conceal and carry.’ I said what are you doing to do now, so it led to us coming into our laboratory,” said McDougal.

Even Wolf advises his students, who attend classes to obtain permits to carry, that they need to think carefully in dangerous situations.

“So you have three seconds to make a decision, can one make a rational cognitive decision in three seconds? Probably not,” said Wolf, who recommends more training than just his class plus hours of regular practice.

Kim says after her time with Mack at San Soon, she was better at moving to grasp the plastic pistol in her purse and showed improvement.

But experts advise everyone carrying legally that avoiding a gunfight is the best practice, so consider yelling or even running away.

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