BITHLO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A local gun expert says there's several ways to learn how to use a gun, without ever putting anyone at risk.
"This is used a lot in the civilians academy, a lot in law enforcement, it's used a lot in the firearms industry just for training."
Mike Piwowarski, owner of The Arms Room and radio host of The Arms Room Radio Show, shows us a way to safely learn how to use a gun.
"This is a laser training simulator gun. It's the same size and shape as a gun but there's no mistaking this during a training simulation for a gun."
He wonders how a woman was accidentally shot dead by an officer, at a Punta Gorda Police citizens academy.
"Obviously it's a tragic event anytime there's a loss of life, but when its due to an accident or negligence it makes it even worse. It's something that's preventable."
He says training guns like these are often used for safety reasons because there's no mistaking it for a real pistol.
"You can't get these in black. They're red, they're purple that's why you can identify it while in the holster and while training that it's not a real firearm. It has no real barrel so it can't take real bullets." The laser gun ranges from $200 to $400.
We reached out to several law enforcement agencies about their citizen training policies. The Orlando Police Department uses retrofitted guns that only fire fake bullets and will not allow you to load a live round. The Seminole County Sheriff's Office has a one on one training range, where citizens go through an extensive safety briefing before they're allowed to fire a weapon.
Either way, if a real gun is being used, Mike has some simple advice: "Anytime a firearm is used ask to check it first. Double check it have your friend check it."