Classes growing for firearms instructors

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealJames Campbell of America West Guns talk about the different holsters available on Thursday in his Carson City shop.

Shannon Litz/Nevada AppealJames Campbell of America West Guns talk about the different holsters available on Thursday in his Carson City shop.

In the aftermath of the deadly IHOP shooting this month, firearms instructors are seeing an increase in people wanting to take a gun-safety course as a prerequisite for obtaining aconcealed-weapon permit.

"Business has increased fivefold," said James Campbell, owner of America West Guns and a certified concealed-weapon instructor. "I spent the first four hours after the IHOP shooting taking reservations and scheduling classes."

"Normally I have six to eight people in a class. I've been maxing out every class since then, and max for me is 12 to 15 people."

On the morning of Sept. 6, an armed gunman entered the Carson City restaurant and opened fire. Within 77 seconds he had shot 11 people, killing four and injuring seven. He then turned the gun on himself.

Campbell said his customers are expressing concern about the IHOP shooting, and they want to be prepared. "Unfortunately, it is a tragic event," he said. "Unfortunately, it has led people to be a little bit more afraid, but at the same time it also an eye-opening experience. People have to know we do have crime in Carson City. I think this was people awakening to the fact that there is crime out there. It was such a tragic event that took place in such an unexpected environment."

Chuck Farrell, a former law enforcement officer and a certified CCW instructor, said he too has seen an increase of students in his Guns for Hire firearm safety classes.

But that's not unusual, he said. Whenever a violent event happens in the U.S. or there's a possibility gun laws will be strengthened, people decided to get armed.

"Some of them are saying that's what they're worried about. Some are just saying, 'I want to get my CCW because I think it's time I should get one,'" he said. "It's really weird because just a minor thing - say, if something happens back in Texas and it makes national news - I'll see more people."

In Carson City, 1,131 people hold concealed-weapon permits. That is an increase in the number of holders since July, said Sheriff Ken Furlong. However, it will take at least four weeks before he can calculate what effect the IHOP shooting had on the numbers.

Milani McKinley, the civil division manager for the Carson City Sheriff's Office, said her clerks have been taking an increasing number of applications for permits.

Buddy Morton, owner of TAC-AIM, which offers CCW instruction, private weapons instruction and NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instruction, said he's seen more people, but not just those seeking a new permit.

"What I'm seeing is an increase of people who want private lessons," he said. "Most people who carry concealed-weapons permits can all benefit from a private lesson. I'm doing an increase in CCWs and also seeing an increase in people who just want to shoot better.

"If the discussion of IHOP comes up, it's usually someone saying, 'Isn't it a shame that at least one person in there didn't have a gun?'"


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