EL CENTROâ€” She carefully loaded the red training bullets inside the magazine for a Glock 22 .40 caliber handgun, all the while attentive so as not to damage her manicured pink fingernails. Upon completion, Lizet Beltran handed the full magazine to her weapons instructor.Â
Robert Boas, training instructor and owner of Indigenous Weapons Training, inspected it and approved with an encouraging remark. Noticing that Beltran had difficulties, he asked his son and assistant, Evan Boas, 17, to get her a magazine loader. Robert Boas showed Beltran how to use the device. She tried it, and commented it was easier to load bullets using the magazine loader than just with her fingers.Â
Student Alyssa Gonzales also had difficulties with the bullets. â€œIt hurts my fingers a little bit.â€ The loader was a great help for her, too.Â
On Saturday, the â€œAll Girls Class Weapon Trainingâ€ at Border Tactical in El Centro aimed to teach women handgun fundamentals.
â€œFirearms training is important for everyone, especially if you own a weapon or are in a home where people own a weapon, or youâ€™re married to a law enforcement officer,” Boas said. “You should be trained and be familiar with firearms so that youâ€™re safer around them.â€Â
â€œI want them to be comfortable with handling the gun before they actually fire the gun. Our primary concern is always safety,” he said.Â
Beltran said she attended the class because her husband is in law enforcement and thereâ€™s always a gun at home. She wanted to know how firearms work and how to use them. In the class she learned, among other things, how to load bullets in a cartridge, how to safely hand over a firearm to another person, the gun parts and functions, how to aim, protecting the ears and eyes, clear commands at a gun range, and storage of the firearm at home.Â
â€œIâ€™m intimidated by using guns, or the stigma that, â€˜Oh, girls donâ€™t really use guns. Itâ€™s the guyâ€™s thing to do.â€™ Thatâ€™s not the world we live in today,â€ Beltran said.
Lupe Ibarra has five years of experience with firearms. Even then, she wanted further weapons training. â€œIt is important to learn how to be safe around a gun or any kind of weapon,” Ibarra said. “My family spends a lot of time during the winter season shooting outdoors. My husband has been able to help me enjoy being around guns and shooting guns for target practice.â€Â
According to Ibarra, most women want to learn gun safety for self-defense. A woman cannot really defend herself if she is nervous and is unaware of how to use a weapon, she said, and weapons training helps women feel more comfortable.Â
â€œIt is important for not just women, but people in general, to keep an open mind when it comes to handling and learning safety around firearms. But taking a class like this is a lot of education and classroom work, a lot can be learned,â€ Ibarra said.Â
Displayed on one table were different models of handguns and their respective storage cases. The father and son training duo presented a family atmosphere in the classroom. Boasâ€™ calming voice was noticeable during the class; and likely contributed to a less intimidating classroom atmosphere â€” where noise from discharging guns could be heard from a nearby shooting range located across the classroom.
Following the classroom instruction, the group planned to go to a gun range to complete their training. Meanwhile, they practiced Â â€œ… more safety and proper manipulation of the gun, loading and unloading and being safe with the weapon before we go on to the range,â€ Boas said.Â