Free gun training offer attracts over 200 Pinellas County teachers

02/11/13 Lisa Marzilli
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This Saturday, when most folks will be sleeping in, doing chores or taking the kids to soccer, a group of Pinellas County school teachers will be learning how to handle a gun.

Lenny Bogdanos is president of International Executive Protection, a Clearwater firm that provides body guard, self-defense and firearms training. He’s waiving the $75 fee he normally charges for a four hour class for Pinellas County school teachers. The class covers everything from how to load and unload a weapon, how to store the ammunition, carry a weapon on your person and the laws that deal with all of it, The response to Bogdanos’ offer has been so overwhelming he says he’s had to add additional classes, at his own expense.

We had to cap the Saturday class and add another class on the 23rd and we’ve already had to cap that one…and we’re not sure about what we’re going to do about having a third date. We’ve had close to 400, 500 inquiries whether it’s via email or phone, but definitely the registration is clearly over two hundred people.

And why do you think that is?

That’s a good question...I think people just want to be aware of what’s going on and uphold their rights. If the law says that you need a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun with you; if you need a concealed weapons permit to legally have a firearm with you when you go to the movie theater, then why not have that right? I am not again saying that teachers should go to school with guns. I know that’s against the law and that wasn’t my intent. My intent was genuine and sincere when I first put it on Facebook but it just spread and grew pretty rapidly and since I did offer it I wasn’t going to go back on my word and say well now I’m not offering it and now I have to come out of pocket to pay for banquet rooms, extra instructors, material, literature and so forth.

When asked for comment about International Executive Protection’s offer to teachers, Pinellas County School spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said the District “has no affiliation with this organization and no association with the offer they are promoting to educators.” She also cited school board policy and Florida law which currently prohibits any person or employee from carrying a firearm onto school property, even if it is securely locked in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, with the exception of law enforcement.

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