Breon Martin — Jun 27, 2021 Updated Jul 16, 2021
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Amanda Lovelace knew she would be a gun owner someday.
Since September, she’s been taking courses on firearm education and safety with the Rhinox Research Group at the Louisville Central Community Center on West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
“I have the knowledge to protect myself and protect others,” Lovelace said.
As Louisville is heading toward another record-breaking year for gun homicides, the Black-owned firearms training academy is helping new gun owners learn how to properly handle them.
“With the climate of the city, it’s kind of a necessary evil, I would say, something that you would need,” Lovelace said. “I’ve even had my mother come to class so that she can have an understanding of how to protect herself, just in case.”
Aaron McGahee leads the gun safety training classes. He is also the founder of Rhinox Research Group, which aims to help with proper gun acclimation and knowledge.
“It’s for those people who may not have a lot of experience with firearms, also those people who do have experience that maybe want to brush up on their fundamental skills,” McGahee said.
He said hard skill trainings such as shooting rifles and shotguns need to be complimented with soft skills like the “gear building and tourniquet” course he taught Saturday.
“You have to have software to put on the hardware,” he said.
Not only did McGahee study criminal justice at The University of Louisville, he is an Air Force veteran with extensive training in security. He also specializes in weapons and defense planning and execution.
“I do understand deviant behavior and criminology quite well,” said McGahee.
He says the criminal justice system deals with such behaviors, but does not do much for those who own and have used a firearm for protection.
“We’ve had a surge in gun ownership,” said McGahee. “Don’t worry about the gun violence, right? That’s what we have the police for, that’s what we have all these other institutions for, but what about all these gun owners who just bought a gun?”
In Kentucky, anyone 21 or older, who is eligible, can carry a concealed firearm without a permit. McGahee says that’s fine, but education should be the first bullet.
“The conceal carry class is not about the piece of plastic, it’s about the training and education you’re going to need in order to properly use that firearm in self-defense,” said McGahee.
Lovelace, one of those who attended the course on Saturday, says it makes her feel less triggered by fear. She now, instead, is shooting for safety.
“There’s just a lot going on and that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be a victim, but if you ever come in contact with anything you will know what to do,” she said.
McGahee says eventually he’d like to open his own gun range, and he’s also considering a youth academy.
For classes & training click here.