Slidell, La. (WGNO)— On a windy Tuesday morning at Camp Villere in Slidell, the pros at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives instructed the first class of the citizen’s academy through an assortment of weapons.
Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn stated, “The lesson gives everybody kind of an appreciation when we talk firearms, what a wide breadth of equipment we’re talking about.”
One of the weapons was equipped with an illegal bump stock, a device that is used to dramatically increase the number of times you fire can the rifle. These were outlawed in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting but still appear on the streets today.
“It’s gonna bruise you and break ribs and do all kinds of probably some internal damage,” said ATF Special Agent Tony Pierce, explaining how some rounds affect someone wearing protective vests.
According to Thielhorn, “The importance of body armor, the importance of being safe and concerns that all law enforcement has on a day to day when they’re going out there to do the job.”
As for the students, the academy has been successful in painting the picture of exactly what goes on in the agency.
Student Doug Kirby stated, “They’re putting their lives on the line and to come out and understand what it is that they’re facing each time that they strap on their badge.”
According to Dow Edwards, “I thought I knew something, but I didn’t know anything until I got in the class. It was absolutely amazing!”