Following the deadly shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas that killed 22 people a few weeks ago, Hispanics in the city have flocked to the gun range to take concealed carry classes, Reuters reported. The course is required for Texas residents to obtain a License to Carry (LTC) a concealed firearm.
According to Michael McIntyre, general manager of Gun Central, one of the biggest gun stores in El Paso, his classes have see a huge increase since the shooting earlier this month. Normally each of his concealed carry classes have seven people. Now they average 50 people per class. And the people who are seeking his services are predominantly Hispanic.
“I have over 50 for this Saturday class and approximately the same amount for the Sunday class, and I normally have approximately seven,” McIntyre told Reuters.
In addition to an increase in a desire for training, McIntyre said his handgun sales doubled following the attack.
“We actually had two people buy guns here who were actually in the Walmart on the day of the shooting. The other people are just saying, ‘Hey, you know I want to be able to protect myself in the event of something going on.’,” he said. “This is not the last mass shooting we’re going to see.”
One of the people who sought McIntyre's training was 35-year-old Guadalupe Segovia and her two children. Her Military husband had long pushed her to obtain firearms training but the shooting being so close to home gave her a sense of urgency.
"I’m still going to be scared, even carrying a weapon,” she said.
Although Segovia knows the training received isn't enough to stop an active shooter like the one earlier this month, she wants her sisters to know how to handle a firearm, should the need arise.
“I’ve already told them, ‘Let’s go practice. Let’s go practice.’ It’s not just this one time that we have to keep coming to ranges and so you can feel familiarized with a weapon and be OK with it,” she said.
According to McIntyre, the majority of people wouldn't be able to fire back in an attack like the one at the El Paso Walmart. His classes acknowledge this reality and start by teaching students to run first. Only one percent of people would actually return fire.
“One out of a hundred is a fire, the other 99 will run off,” McIntyre said.
This isn't the first time people flocked to firearms training and carrying concealed. Similar instances took place following the attacks in San Bernardino, California in 2015 and Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016.