OZARK, Mo. -- If you want a conceal-and-carry gun permit, get in line. The list is long as more people apply for permits following mass shootings and the president's push for gun control.
The parking lot outside Sound of Freedom Gun Range was full on Tuesday. The class inside was "Beginner Pistol."
"I'm hoping that I get a little more comfortable with a gun myself. Right now, I'm not sure I could protect myself. I think I could, but I want to feel more comfortable with my gun," said Georgie Stever.
Stever says her motivation for being at the range is "mostly because of all the home invasions."
She's not alone. Most of the students told a reporter it's not about gun control talk, just about personal safety.
"I know there was one story lately about a woman whose husband was coaching her on the phone, and that had an impact on me, as far as I want to know what I am doing, if we are going to be able to protect our own home," said student Jenny Knowles.
"Clearly, in a self-defense circumstance where your life is on the line, it is wholly appropriate, and legally justified and necessary, to do that (protect yourself)," said security expert Steve Ijames.
The former police officer is well-versed in all things about guns, but he says there's more to it than the mechanics.
"You do need to defend your life, but if you have an alternative to get away, and I'm not suggesting that because it's a legal option or just what you should do, just for the health of you and your family and the psychology that goes with all that, I would encourage people to do everything they can do to avoid getting into a gun fight," Ijames said.
"There's just in the minds of decent people a lot of tough things that occur after you take someone's life, so I'm just suggesting that those who participate in training to carry a gun, I'm hoping they are also exposed to that side of it that also lays the proper foundations legally and technically, but also laying that mental foundation that says this truly needs to be in the greatest extreme and you'll be better off for that," he said.
Ijames says the seriousness of being ready when you get that conceal-and-carry permit can be, in part, measured by this: even police officers who are trained for deadly encounters last fewer than five years on the job following a deadly shooting.
The owner says first-time shooters at Sound of Freedom Range vary in age from 21 all the way up to late 80s.
In Greene County, from last month to this month, there has been a 35-percent increase in people seeking permits. That follows a recent trend. Since conceal-and-carry became law eight years ago, four of the five months with the most applications ever have been within the last eight months.
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