Real estate broker turns to gun range to protect realtors

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LAYTON — Firing a few rounds at an indoor range, real estate broker Mark Shepherd said he always keeps his sidearm on the job.

"I've walked into multiple situations where I just have not felt comfortable. Something says to you, 'back out,' " Shepherd said.

Concern for realtor safety is nothing new to Shepherd, but he said recent news that a real estate agent was killed while showing a home in Arkansas has reinforced his views.

"We've seen it before," Shepherd said. "This is just the first time that it's become really public."

Beverly Carter disappeared after showing a home to a potential client last Thursday. Her body was later found in a shallow grave outside Little Rock. 33-year-old Aaron Lewis, who has been charged with her murder, told reporters he targeted Carter because "she was a rich broker."

Shepherd is president of the Northern Wasatch Association of Realtors. He also happens to be the mayor of Clearfield. With the help of management of "Get Some" Guns & Ammo in Layton, he's now organized a gun safety course for realtors. He said in talking with others in his industry about the idea, he's learned that some concealed carry permit holders are not properly trained.

"The concern was that several of them are carrying a loaded weapon with them, whether it be in a purse or a holster, and have never fired that gun," Shepherd said.

The Northern Wasatch Realtors have sponsored self-defense courses before, according to Shepherd. This latest course, coming up in two weeks, will be the at an active gun range with the focus on gun safety.

"We're not just doing this to come out and say that we're pro-gun &mdahs; that's not our intention," Shepherd said. "But I do want those that have a gun to be safe and to know how to use it."

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