Gun rights supporters fear the new president will get Congress to impose new gun control laws. That fear triggered a surge in gun sales nationwide after the election in November.

Instead of waiting, more people are exercising their right to personal protection.

"I know Obama said he wouldn't take away any of our gun rights but that remains to be seen," said Glen Hirsch, who was buying a gun on a recent day.

In Springfield, concealed carry courses are booked full through April.

"I want to be able to have it when I need it," said Kevin Hale of Aurora.

Instructors even added Sunday sessions.

"The demand for this course has pretty much tripled over what it was a year ago," said Randy Gibson, a concealed-carry weapons class instructor.

The demand increased from 381 applications in 2006 to more than 1,100 last year; 12 percent of the applicants are women.

Wendy Bair of Branson says her decision had nothing to do with the incoming president. She's strongly opposed to any gun control, whether the weapon is for sport or self protection.

"I believe in the Second Amendment. I think that's our right and no one has the right to take that away from us," said Bair.

Obama has said he supports gun rights but considers the issue a low priority. That's a statement that some question since Obama's attorney general-nominee, Eric Holder, is a known advocate of stronger gun control measures.

So now, more Americans are reading about their rights, and taking action out of fear of what they could lose.

"We're going to do what we can to meet demand," said Gibson.

Gibson says, of the 3,000 conceal-carry weapons permits issued in Greene County since 2004, less than a dozen have been revoked following criminal background checks.

For more information on the concealed-carry weapons classes offered at Bass Pro Shops' Outdoor World store in Springfield, send an e-mail message to the instructors at gibson603(at)netzero.com. The two-day course costs $100 and includes a written exam and firearms test.

by Maria Neider
Source: KY3 News