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      Gun sales continue along with safety classes

      Gun owner Carrie Harris (left) feels anyone that owns a gun should attend a firearm safety class like the one in Etowah County. (

      Gun sales continue to rise with bigger sales in outlying areas of Alabama. It's one reason why the Etowah County Sheriff's Office held a citizen's firearm safety course Tuesday night. Dozens of people showed up to learn the basics of handling firearms safely.

      "Usually, we're full to the ceiling from start to finish." Brandon Hanks with Off Campus Pawn and Storage says gun sales are still going strong. People are now using tax refunds for purchases. "They're buying more shotguns for home defense. They're{}buying some rifles that have no chance of being banned, it's more a panic mode."

      Hanks says it's still hard getting guns from distributors because even those with no shooting experience are buying firearms.

      "Last week's class, over half never shot a gun." Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin says gun permits have doubled since the Sandy Hook shooting. "A lot of people are first time gun owners, never have shot a gun, so we're giving them the ability to learn gun safety."

      Free classes on how to properly use firearms and learning the laws are filling up fast. "My husband just passed away and as long as he was alive, he was my protector. Now I'm my own protector." Carrie Harris owns a gun, but hasn't used it in 30 years. "I think anyone who carries a permit, anyone who owns a gun should be sitting in this classroom."

      This course is so popular, The sheriff's office has one every Tuesday through March 19th. And once people complete this, they'll get to do some training on the firing range.

      The sheriff says every upcoming class is filled- except one on{}March 19th. He says his office will continue holding classes as long as there's a need.