The general manager for one of El Paso, Texas’ biggest gun shops said last week that his business’ sales have doubled in the wake of an Aug. 3 mass shooting at a local Walmart.
Michael McIntyre, who manages Gun Central, told Reuters on Friday that not only have sales doubled from their normal weekly average, but El Paso residents are flocking to take license to carry classes offered by the establishment.
“I have over 50 for this Saturday class and approximately the same amount for the Sunday class, and I normally have approximately seven,” McIntyre said.
He also said that two individuals who were in the Walmart where the shooting took place were among those registered to become certified to carry a concealed gun in public.
“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.’,” McIntyre said.
“This is not the last mass shooting we’re going to see,” he added.
Guadalupe Segovia, 35, attended a class at Gun Central with her two children. She told Reuters that while her military husband had long suggested she should get a concealed-carry license, the El Paso shooting made doing so an urgent matter.
Segovia has stressed the importance of preparing for the worst to her family members, particularly her sisters.
“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.
Gun Central, El Paso and the gun debate
The El Paso attack – and another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio the same weekend – inflamed an already tense national conversation about gun violence.
Proponents of gun control have been extremely vocal in renewing calls for more restrictions on firearms. But gun rights advocates have arguably been just as vehement in resisting such proposals.
As McIntyre’s experience shows, Texas, a state known for its strong firearms culture, has been a meeting point of sorts for the range of opinions populating the gun debate.
A series of laws scheduled to take effect next month will make it easier for Texans to obtain firearms in a state known for already having loose restrictions on gun ownership.
Last week, a Texas woman alerted the media after seeing a gun store advertising its wares with a “back to school sale.”
Meanwhile, during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo last Monday, an El Paso shooting survivor lamented the fact that his mother did not have her firearm with her while the deadly attack was taking place.