BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) - Instructors in the state of Arkansas have taught more people to carry concealed handguns in each of the last 3 months than the previous 6 months combined. Officials with the Arkansas Concealed Carry Association said it's because people are concerned about the political landscape in Washington D.C.
"We are very, very worried about the future of firearms and the future of being able to carry a gun," said Zach White, a 22-year old college student.
Zach said he's attending college in St. Louis, Missouri next year and he wants to protect himself.
"I feel safe in Piggott but I've lived in Little Rock and all over the country and there's been a lot of situations that I really wish I had had a handgun with me. I do plan on going to St. Louis for school next year, and I'd definitely like to have pistol just in case," said Zach.
"I don't like to see 2nd Amendment rights being diminished or at least attacked in the way they are," said Steve White, Zach's father.
According to Blake Williams, who has been teaching concealed weapons classes for 3 years, he's had to double the number of courses he teaches per month.
"We used to teach once a month and now we teach twice a month and I know, I've talked to a lot of instructors across the state and they say that their numbers are going up also," said Williams.
Williams said a majority of his students want personal protection and a handgun is one way to provide it. He has seen more students in the last 2 months because gun stores reported an increase in gun sales 2 weeks before the Presidential election.
"A concealed handgun license is a right. It's given to the people of the state of Arkansas and so that they can protect their self," said Williams.
Williams said rumors are swirling among his patrons that Washington will restrict the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Comparing the United States to modern Europe, which has strict gun laws, Steve said the government is heading down a dangerous road.
"Many people think the 2nd Amendment is a sporting amendment, one where people can go hunting and may not need a gun that shoots more than one time, but really the 2nd Amendment is about personal protection, protection from other people and, but ultimately, protection from the government too. The first thing Hitler did was make sure gun ownership was no longer legal," said Steve.
That fear is one reason gun sales are up. It's also one reason more people are taking personal protection classes.
"There's a lot of rumors going around about people not being able to purchase certain types of weapons, not being able to purchase certain types of ammunition and I believe that they feel having a concealed carry license now may either help that or they feel that they may not be the ability to get a concealed handgun license later on so they may be trying to be grandfathered in," said Williams.
"We start out teaching weapon safety, which is the first thing we always teach, then we teach purchasing handguns for concealed carry, types of handguns that are more suitable for concealed carry, and we always teach basic fundamentals of pistol shooting, we teach that in depth," said Williams.
"If we continue in this direction at the same rate it's been going the past few years, I think the 2nd Amendment essentially will no longer exist," said Steve.
"I'm taking this course to carry a gun just for my personal protection and in case I run up on a situation where I need to protect someone else," said Zach.