For 15 aspiring butlers, drawing a gun will be as important as drawing a bath.

The would-be servants will be taking a three-day course on handling guns so they can protect employers and their families in overseas posts."Unfortunately, we're living in an era of violence, and wealthy people overseas who employ butlers want somebody who in an emergency can go to a drawer and fire a gun to protect them and their families," said Ivor Spencer, who runs the International School for Butler Administrators.

Spencer said he was surprised that all 15 students in the seven-week course said they wanted to learn how to handle guns.

"I gave them the option and thought some would be afraid of guns," he said.

The three-day course in Newport, Wales, starting Nov. 9, will include training on the use of semiautomatic weapons, he said.

Spencer said he didn't expect butlers to be toting guns in Britain, which has strict gun control laws and has banned over-the-counter sales of the weapons. But he said he does expect some butlers going overseas to get licenses and use their training.