News 12 at 11 o'clock / Saturday, March 3, 2012
AIKEN, S.C. -- Local gun classes say their classes are more packed than ever.
They say the spike in crime has them feeling vulnerable. A few weeks ago we told you about a rise in concealed weapons permits. On Saturday there were a lot of people at the range, but the most noticeable were the women and seniors because there were so many of them.
Over half the class Saturday was women and a good amount of people over 60. They were all there to get their concealed weapons permits.
Dianne Parker said when she was younger she never imagined she would be getting a concealed weapons permit.
"We made tents and slept on the front porch. We never thought about locking a door," she said.
And she's not the only one who feels that way. Janice Gay was also there to get her permit.
"I would have never thought I would be doing this because you don't wanna hurt anybody, but the way the world is today people are mean," she said.
They both say it all started after the deaths of two Aiken Public Safety officers.
"These are people that are trained and have weapons and if they're gonna take them down, I don't have a chance," Gay said.
Parker knew both Sandy Rogers and Scott Richardson.
"When Sandy was killed, my hometown of Aiken that I've been in for 48 years no longer felt safe and in order to feel safe I figured this was the best way to do it," Parker said.
Cpt. Brent Kirkland says he's seen a rise in the number of overall permits, but the biggest increase is in women and seniors.
"They are tired of being victimized and they realize that law enforcement cannot park a car in front of their house and follow them around during their daily shopping routines and they're gonna be able to take care of themselves," Kirkland said.
Many of the people getting their permits said they're tired of not feeling safe.
"My lady friends, a lot of those, because we just don't feel safe just to simply go out to lunch and go shopping," Gay said. "We just don't feel safe."
Many of them believe women of all ages should learn to use a gun.
Kirkland says it's important to remember the burden that comes with carrying a concealed weapon.
"It's not just carrying the gun," he said. "You have to be able to protect yourself and your gun because when you have that gun on, it's a lot of responsibility and once you put the bullet out of the barrel, the bullet does not come back."
A responsibility that people of all ages are now taking on.