Concealed weapons applications up in Washoe

BY VICTOR CALDERON vcalderon@rgj.com August 11, 2009

Kevin Roth, an approved concealed weapons instructor at Arms to Bear in Sparks, said he's seen an increase of about 30 percent in people signing up for his concealed weapons classes compared with last year.
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Roth's business reflects what the Washoe County Sheriff's Office has seen -- an increase in requests for permits to carry concealed weapons in the past eight months.

While some, including Roth, say higher unemployment and crime rates are factors, others point to a fear of stricter gun control under the Obama administration.

"I've heard from local people planning to buy guns that they are concerned about gun control," Roth said.

The number of Washoe County applications went from 96 in October to 181 in November, when Barack Obama was elected president. The number peaked at 288 applications in December but has steadily remained near or above 200 applications a month since then, according to statistics released by the sheriff's office.

The application form does not require a reason for the application.

About 60 percent of Roth's business is middle-aged men, but in the past six months, more senior citizens have registered, he said.

In May, Obama signed a law that will allow guns in national parks.

"The president respects and supports the Second Amendment and the tradition of gun ownership in this country," White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said of the Constitutional provision that guarantees the right to bear arms.

Interest groups on both sides agree that demand is up because of economic and political uncertainty.

People worry that the administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress will try to "enact more gun control," said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, feared that violent confrontations will increase.

"When someone's carrying a gun around and they're not fully trained, oftentimes they'll use it just because it's there," he said.

Allan Stanko, an approved concealed weapons instructor in Reno, said some people in his courses are concerned with thoughts about gun control.

"There's an undercurrent (among gun owners) out there," Stanko said. "Personally, I don't want to see anything happen to the Second Amendment. Obviously, I'm pro-guns."

Craig Fougner, an instructor at Craig Fougner Firearms Instruction in Reno, said he'll wait and see how Obama acts.

"This administration may not be favorable to gun ownership," Fougner said. "We don't know for sure."

Roth disagreed, saying he believes it's clear where Obama stands.

"If you look at his administration, his record has been very poor as far as gun control goes ... so I'm very concerned about where the new administration is headed," Roth said. "He's our president, and we have to respect his title, but we don't have to agree with his positions."

Reporter Steve Timko and Gannett News Service contributed to this story.

Concealed weapons applications up in Washoe | rgj.com | Reno Gazette-Journal

"...I am consistently on record and will continue to be on record as opposing concealed carry," Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2004 - Barack Obama

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