Residents arming themselves for protection

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Many metro Atlanta residents are arming themselves in response to increased crime in their neighborhoods.

Betty Hall joined friends at Adventure Outdoors gun range in Smyrna Tuesday morning for shooting practice. She bought a gun for the first time last year.

"I just think it's important to have one for security," Hall said.

Store owner and general manager Eric Wallace recommended first-time gun buyers test a few weapons at the range first to see what feels best in their hand. Gun vaults are a popular option for many who want to secure their weapon. A touch-tone keypad with a key override allows quick access in an emergency.

While securing the gun is important, longtime gun owner and mother Amanda Engel said parents should also educate their children on the importance of gun safety.

"Teaching our children it's not a toy and he doesn't have to be scared of it makes us more confident he will do the right thing, even if he was at a friend's house where other families are keeping their weapons there," Engel said.

Once customers select their gun and accessories, Wallace said customers must fill out their paperwork, and pass a mandatory background check on site before completing their purchase. Wallace recommends new gun owners take a complimentary gun safety course.