EUGENE, Ore. — It’s likely more people will apply for a concealed handgun permits in Lane County this year than ever before.
In the first six months of 2013, there were just more than 2,000 new requests for concealed handgun licenses in Lane County–that’s just slightly less than the numbers for the entire year of 2012.
There could be several reasons linked to that increase, but one thing’s for certain. Anyone who legally applies to be able to carry a gun should know how to use it properly.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office says there are more and more people registering to carry a concealed gun.
“As for this year, we are definitely looking at a record number year,” said Sgt. Steve French, Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
And those who are carrying are doing so legally.
“They are carrying firearms that are consistent with the law,” French said.
Newly licensed gun carriers in Oregon aren’t picking up a firearm for the first time. Not only do they have to go through an application process and background check, they have to take a safety class.
“If your course is less than four hours, you aren’t getting a good course,” said Donovan Beard, Defensive Firearms Instruction Owner.
Beard is a local NRA certified firearms instructor. He’s not surprised by the surge in CHL numbers in the county.
“People are feeling, from what I am seeing, if it’s going to be 30-40 minutes before police are going to be there, I want to protect myself if I’m going to be a victim of a crime,” Beard said.
So Beard is in the business of making sure people are ready and responsible before they pick up a weapon.
“How do I know when I’m legally justified in using force, how do I deal with local law enforcement if I end up in a shooting situation,” Beard said.
He teaches gun etiquette, mindset and safe handling. Beard not only teaches gun control, but he helps filter out the people not ready to bear arms.
“I’ve also had some people that have taken the course and said, ‘This isn’t for me. I’m just going to go ahead and purchase some pepper spray,'” Beard said.
Beard say in the end this spike in demand shows that people aren’t only actively seeking permits, but responsible gun training.
“They are people who want the option to if they need to have a firearm on them, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing by any source of the imagination. I think it stems from people getting good education so they can be an asset to the community as opposed to a liability,” Beard said.
A new statewide report shows one in 15 adults are licensed to carry in Oregon–that’s up from 1 in 22 adults in 2010. Lane County also says they see a surge locally when there’s a proposal for change in firearm legislation.