CWP enrollment up in Hartsville

Published: Feb. 6, 2011 at 2:44 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 9, 2011 at 11:45 AM EST
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Hartsville, SC - By Alisha Laventure - bio | email

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – Concealed weapons permit instructors are seeing higher enrollment in their courses following the assault of a downtown merchant.

Walter "Rusty" Peagler is the chief weapons instructor for Patriots In Training, a course designed to teach gun owners how to properly use their weapon. "We talk about eliminating a threat, or stopping a threat. That's what we are trying to do first and foremost," Peagler explained. The 8-hour concealed weapons permit training course he taught on Saturday reached full enrollment. The same is true for the next CWP course he will teach.

"I don't ever want to be in a situation where I'm vulnerable and can't protect myself," Carolyn Atkinson said. She is a real-estate agent and felt compelled to get a CWP when working late with potentially dangerous clients.

"If I'm going into a property and showing a house and I get into a situation, and having a concealed weapon, then I can protect myself."

Peagler said interest in for his CWP course soared after Hartsville police found a store owner assaulted, robbed and left in her store after assailants set it on fire last month.

"When they call, that's the first thing they say, 'We heard about Miss Claudette downtown and we really want to be able to protect ourselves'." he said. Peagler is personally devoted to CWP training after someone invaded his brother's home, shot and killed his brother with his brother's own gun.

"People shouldn't have to walk around every day in fear for their lives. But that's kind of the society that we're in now," he said.

The first half of training is dedicated to handgun basics, including ammunition, holsters and shooting. They also review self defense state laws regulating CWP training.

After a written exam, shooters spend the second half of the course outside on a shooting range.  The course concludes with each shooter giving their fingerprints and receiving a Concealed Weapons Permit Training Certificate.

"I had signed up to take the class before this had all happened, but it certainly propelled me to get out here quicker," Robin Young said. She was one of eight women who outnumbered the men in Peagler's Saturday course.

"I'm' 5'4, 135 pounds, I don't think that I could be very strong-armed with a baseball bat," she explained, which is why she chooses to protect herself with a gun as opposed taser or pepper spray. She and her husband, son and her son's girlfriend all took the course.

"I'm happy to see women being proactive in protecting themselves," Young said.

For more information on the CWP course offered by Patriots in Training, visit

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