Amarillo, TX - Officials are seeing an increase in local gun sales and the number of residents taking classes to obtain their concealed handgun license (CHL).
Owner of the Panhandle Gunslingers, Burine Stokes, said his gun sales have been high since Black Friday and have been increasing since the shooting in San Bernardino, California. He said people are purchasing guns because they want to feel protected.
"I think it's a safety thing and I think there's a lot of reasons to be concerned," Stokes said. "This is something that has been building a while and we've wanted to say that we never thought it could happen here and now it has happened here." Many residents are also taking his training courses, he said his classes next week are complete booked.
With Texas's open carry policy less than three weeks away many resident are also attending CHL training classes to obtain their carrying permit.
Owner and trainer of Dixon Firearms Training, Ayvrie Dixon, said her class size has quadrupled in December because many people want to get their permits before the open carry takes effect.
"This month I will put almost 100 people through my CHL classes alone, and about 45 people through a beginner training course or a range lesson where they just want to get some hands on experience," Dixon said.
Dixon said men are usually the ones taking her course, but said she has seen women enrolling to take a safety training course or to obtaining their CHL. However, Dixon sees a wide array in ages of the people taking her classes from single mothers to retired veterans.
Currently a CHL course entails a 4 to 6 hour course covering lawful carry, use of force, safety and handling a firearm, and non-violent dispute resolution. People must also take a range test and a 25 question written test. In new year people will have to also learn about using a holster.
"It's not required to have your open carried firearm in a retention style holster it just has to be in a shoulder or a belt holster," Dixon said. "But the retention part is the new training they are asking us to do starting January first."
Dixon feels at first many residents who will be legally allowed to open carry will for the first six months, but expects many people to return to the concealed carry practices.
"I don't really foresee a lot of people choosing to open carry on a long term basis, there may be a few who say absolutely we are open carry and I''m going to now, but even nation wide we're the I think 37th state that has allowed open carry, (and) you don't really here about it in any of the other states," Dixon said.