AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Are people in the Valley taking up arms to protect themselves in the wake of recent gun violence across the country?
The vice president of an Austintown gun range says yes.
Richard Baker, vice president of The Training Range in Austintown, said he has seen a steady increase in customers over the last year. He thinks part of it has to do with national incidents of gun violence.
With each mass shooting tragedy in the country, Baker sees an uptick in people registering for concealed carry classes or personal instruction. Baker said he has seen people increase the amount of time that they spend on the gun range as well.
“A lot of people, I think, are concerned with events in the world and just want to make sure that their families are protected,” he said.
Theresa Zalac is a first-time customer of The Training Range. Zalac’s husband bought her a gun on Sunday, and she said recent events, like the shooting at a Florida high school, showed her how important it is to be prepared in case of an emergency.
“You never know where you’re going to be, and you never know when you’re gonna need it,” Zalac said.
Baker said a lot of people like Zalac come in to learn about guns and how to shoot them.
Those people include church groups who go there to learn how to protect their church, should an emergency arise.
Baker said sales and customer flow have a lot to do with politics.
He said because President Donald Trump is considered to be a “gun friendly” president, gun sales have gone down significantly.
“Conversely, when President Obama was in office, every time there would be a major incident in the United States, people would rush in to buy stuff because there was this perception that the government may prevent them from doing that,” he said.
He expects to see a steady rise in customers throughout the year.