Last week's killing spree inside a Colorado movie theater has many in our region questioning their own safety. In some places, worried people are taking new steps to protect themselves.
News 5 found out many people are turning to a gun. We spoke with several different handgun instructors and found out even in just a few days time they are already noticing a surge in people asking to register for the class that is required before anyone can get a handgun carry permit.
Ethan Bennett has always wanted a gun, and now he's on his way to getting it just one day after the deadly mass shooting in Colorado, Bennett took Tennessee's handgun carry permit course. "We talked about it, if just one person in that theater. If just one person was a carrier, they could've stopped [it or] saved a couple lives," Bennett told News 5.
At the All American Handgun School in Erwin, Tennessee, instructor René Hashe Keplinger told News 5 they are already seeing a revival of people wanting to learn self-defense; specifically to safely carry a handgun in public places.
"The standard calls and emails I get is probably three or four a day. After the shooting in Colorado, it's jumped I think probably [to] ten or 12 or more a day," said Keplinger.
Keplinger has been teaching gun rookies for five years. She said any time there's a publicized tragedy, more people turn to her for shooting expertise. "Even if it's in the Tri-Cities, if there's a murder or a series of break-ins or crimes at places where you could go, just your average citizen, then they realize that you're the only one who can protect yourself," said Keplinger.
That's exactly her advice for those who remain worried for their safety -- learn self-defense or take a gun safety course. "You're going to fight for your life. That's natural. What you have with you depends on whether or not you win," said Keplinger.
For many, it's a gun carried on you that brings that peace-of-mind. "I just like knowing that I'll have my life in my own hands, and I can protect myself and possibly anybody else," said Bennett.