Alan Carter

An instructor coaches Welti’s Alan Carter as he sights his target during a 2016 Cullman County Sheriff’s Office firearms handling and safety class.

The coronavirus pandemic put a momentary hold on the popular firearms safety courses offered to the public by the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office. But starting in July, the classes are coming back.

CCSO will host the year’s first citizens’ firearms safety class on July 7, resuming the free-of-charge training sessions that focus on proper handling, cleaning, and weapons care. The sheriff’s office also conducts live-fire training classes (also free of charge) at its gun range.

The July 7 session will be a classroom-only course, and attendants are required to leave their weapons behind, but the sheriff’s office has also scheduled a live-fire class for the following weekend.

Interest in firearms has surged in recent weeks, as local residents inundated the sheriff’s office with requests for pistol permits in the immediate wake of civil unrest and sometimes violent protests nationwide and, in early June, closer to home. Demand for the permits more than doubled the sheriff’s office’s previous record high, following the May 31 protests at Birmingham’s Linn Park and surrounding areas.

Sheriff Matt Gentry said last week that the resurgent interest in pistol permits had tapered after more than a week of record-breaking demand, but that his office was still approving permit applications at a higher-than-average volume.

In a release, Gentry added that the ongoing local interest in obtaining and properly using a firearm led to the decision to resume the training courses.

“We have had many people call and come by the office the last couple weeks and ask about having a class,” he said. “We at the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office are advocates of our citizens having the knowledge and training they need to protect themselves. I would add that we want them to also know how to handle the weapon safely, and with this free training, they are able to gain valuable knowledge in both these areas.”

The upcoming class will be held at 6 p.m. on July 7 at Temple Baptist Church. A live-fire class at the gun range will take place the following Saturday, July 11 at 8 a.m. Those who attend the July 7 class may sign up that evening for the live-fire safety course.

To register for the course, email deputy Bradley Williams at, or call the sheriff’s office at 256-734-0342 for more information. Register isn’t required, but the sheriff’s office asks those who plan to attend to do so as a courtesy to help staff prepare training material ahead of time.

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