MIDLAND, N.C. (WJZY) — Kids as young as 6 years old are firing guns in one North Carolina town.

It’s part of a gun safety course held by Echo Training owner and lead instructor Michael Pegram. Some parents find it controversial, but class teachers say it could actually be preventing future problems.

The course for kids 6-12 has been held for about four years now. It not only teaches gun safety but also how to actually fire a gun.

“This class is teaching you how to be comfortable,” said Pegram, who launched the course. “We start them out at 6 years old.”

The firearms safety class for kids focuses on the knowledge they’ll need if they ever do happen to come across a real gun.

“I do have a lot of negative feedback,” Pegram said.  “Those are mostly parents that have not been around guns and that’s understandable.”

For many of these kids, shooting a gun before the course was absolutely unheard of.

“They may not find a gun at their own homes,” Pegram said, “But there will be a friend who has a gun and they’ll know what to do to make it safe and clear it.”

Pegram was a public school teacher for 15 years.  By the end of this course, kids are very well-versed.

The classes begin with nerf guns, then kids graduate to Airsoft guns, then pellet and BB guns, and eventually the real deal.

“If I’m particularly nervous about letting a 6-year-old shoot a real gun, I’m not gonna let them shoot it,” Pegram said. “It depends on how they do in the first three hours and if they’re actually ready.”

“I love doing the kids classes,” said lead instructor Amy Purser. “It’s really become a passion. It’s such an eye-opening experience.”

The most important rules the kids go over with the instructors are the four cardinal rules:

  1. All guns are loaded
  2. Keep your finger off the trigger
  3. Don’t point the gun at anything you don’t want to destroy
  4. Be aware of your target and what’s beyond it

Families even take the course together so parents can learn as well.

Classes are offered nearly every weekend with about five kids maximum in each class. For more information, click here.