Report: Carry permits soar after recent violence

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Nationally new research has suggested the number of concealed handgun carry permits has soared from 4.8 million in 2007 to 12.8 million this year.

WREG talked to one gunshop owner and firearms instructor who said when a tragedy happens the trend continues and more people are coming in to get their concealed handgun carry permit.

"Monday classes are usually four to five, today I've got eight or nine," said Chris Fowler who teaches concealed handgun carry courses at Top Brass Gun Range in Millington.

He said after a tragedy happens, like the community college shooting in Oregon that left nine people dead and many more wounded, he tends to see more people wanting to get certified.

"I don't think it's about vengeance or vigilantism or anything like that. I think it's people saying no, I don't want to be a victim. I want to be able to protect myself," he explained.

According to a study about concealed handgun carriers by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than 5% of the adult population in America carries.

In Arkansas, more than 165,000 people have a permit, which is only required to carry outside of the state.

In Tennessee, there's more than 468,000.

In Mississippi, there's nearly 64,000 but those numbers were last updated in 2011.

Guns are often a topic that divides lawmakers.

On Friday, Tennessee's Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey took a strong stance. On Facebook, Ramsey urged fellow Christians to get a handgun carry permit, saying in part, "I have always believed that is is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it."

Holly Watkins, was taking her first concealed handgun carry course Monday at Top Brass, and believed it's the first step in staying safe.

"The only protection is to have your own protection. You can't always rely on the police to be there in time or for everybody to be there to rescue you," said Watkins.

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