Free seminar in New Kensington to cover gun safety and responsible gun ownership

The basics of gun safety and the basics of marksmanship will be covered at a free seminar on Sunday in New Kensington.

“We want to make sure that people who want to protect themselves, their families and loved ones have the opportunity to get the right training,” said Aaron Allen, owner and lead instructor of Elite Tactical Firearms Training in Greensburg.

Allen will lead the gun safety portion of the seminar hosted by Eugene Bryan Sharpley at Lost Dreams Awakening.

Sharpley, 44, a Penn Hills native who has lived in New Kensington for 11 years, is a barber and works at Sarita’s Hair Salon. Late last year, he and several others started Urban Second Amendment in East Liberty, where he had a barbershop that closed in March. He brings U2A to New Kensington now that he lives and works there.

In addition to teaching gun safety and responsible gun ownership, U2A seeks to educate residents of urban communities on topics such as wilderness survival training through outdoors such as camping, fishing, foraging, hunting and trapping small game.

“People in urban areas are the least likely to have these skills,” Sharpley said. “These are more rural skills that are passed down from generation to generation.”

Through U2A, Sharpley said he also wants to provide ways for people to get certified in emergency first aid and CPR, and hold virtual meetings to study the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Sharpley said he noticed an increase in gun sales, especially among those who had never owned one before.

“We were talking about how to get a hunting license you have to take a safety course,” he said. “There is no safety course requirement to own a firearm. We have developed a program to provide a formal introduction to gun safety to the public, our target group being new gun owners.

Last year, U2A held courses in gun safety and pantry preparation. The upcoming seminar is its first free public event.

“Everyone is welcome,” he said. “This is an equal opportunity organization that just wants to contribute to the community.”

Sharpley is not allowed to own a gun because he is a convicted felon. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to spitting in the face of a police officer during a 2015 arrest. Police say he threatened to kill a woman and refused to comply with authorities who responded.

“I grew up on the wrong side of the law,” he said. “I just want to give back. I want to leave a positive mark on this world. I feel it is my calling.

Allen said his portion of the seminar will be classroom instruction without live firearms, ammunition or shooting. No firearms or ammunition will be allowed inside.

Allen, a corporal with the Pennsylvania State Police, said he started his business three years ago because he saw a need in Westmoreland County for firearms education and training. fire.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in the number of ordinary civilians wanting to learn more about guns and gun safety,” he said. “In Pennsylvania, you don’t have to take a training course to own a gun. There really aren’t a lot of restrictions for people who want to use guns.

“It’s great to see people wanting to come to these trainings and be properly trained.”

Additionally, an attorney, Patrick Nightingale, will discuss legal issues such as medical marijuana and concealed transport, proper procedure when someone is arrested by police while carrying a legal firearm, castle doctrine and self-defense.

The seminar will also highlight other services available in the community around self-defense and preparedness.

Given the recent wave of gun violence in the United States and the ongoing gun control debate, Sharpley acknowledges that guns are a controversial topic.

“I think now is the perfect time to introduce this to every community. More responsible gun owners are what we need in light of recent events,” he said. “The most important thing, in my opinion, would be to educate the good guys and help harden the soft targets.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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