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Americans arm themselves as for some, violence is creeping closer

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    Americans arm themselves as for some, violence is creeping closer

    Melissa McClaskey never envisioned herself in a place like Shiloh Gun Range & 3D Archery, donning ear muffs and goggles, a pistol in hand. She'd always distanced herself from firearms, a decision rooted in family tragedy when she was a child. Years later, her siblings own guns. So do most of her friends. But not McClaskey.


    Then came the May shooting spree in west Houston, just blocks from where she works, in which the gunman and a bystander were killed and six others injured.


    Then came Orlando, where a gunman armed with a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle and pistol killed 49 people and injured 53 in a gay nightclub.


    Suddenly, there seemed to be a lot of reasons – too many – for McClaskey and her wife, Krysta, to join the ranks of gun owners.


    "I'm not going to have to beg for something to happen," McClaskey said recently. "I can actually prevent something from happening." Requests nationwide to buy guns are skyrocketing as America grapples with violence, including the recent slaying of five Dallas police officers.


    The FBI reports that nearly 14 million requests for background checks to purchase a gun were made in the first half of this year – a 25 percent increase compared with the same period in 2015.


    More requests have been made in the first half of 2016 than were made in entire years from 1998 through 2008.


    Texas, which has long been among the top states in the nation for gun ownership, has notched more than 800,000 requests so far this year, but trails California and Illinois. "No matter your politics, there is an overwhelming fear the world is becoming less safe," said Chuck Joyner, a retired FBI agent who is a Houston-based law enforcement consultant.


    "You see people who are presumed to be innocent shot by police; you see police shot by snipers; you see terrorist acts throughout the world," he said. "Most people are thinking, 'What can I do to protect myself? What can I do to protect my family?'"


    The Dallas police officers were gunned down last week by sniper Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, following a peaceful demonstration by Black Lives Matter protesters in downtown Dallas. Johnson, an Army veteran, told police during an hourslong standoff that he hated white people and wanted to kill white officers; he eventually was killed by police.


    In Orlando, Omar Mateen, who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State, opened fire in a gay nightclub. In the May shooting in west Houston, Dionisio Garza III ranted for an hour as he opened fire, killing one man and injuring several people before being killed by a SWAT officer.


    Guns doubled Nearly 11,000 federally licensed firearms dealers operate in Texas, far more than any other state. Many of them are concentrated in the Houston region.


    "People love their guns in Texas and Houston is no exception," said Special Agent Nicole Strong, spokeswoman for the Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "That is a statewide trend."


    Guns sold by licensed dealers require a background check, which is conducted electronically and includes questions about a person's criminal history, mental health, immigration status and other matters such as who will be the actual owner of a gun.

    The FBI operates the computerized background check system, but the government is prohibited by federal law from releasing details about the checks or gun ownership.
    Gun buyers can purchase as many firearms as they can afford, but if they buy two or more in any five-day period, the ATF will be flagged as part of an effort to curb gun trafficking, Strong said.


    The number of guns manufactured each year in the United States more than doubled – from 5.4 million to 11 million – between 2010 and 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.


    Joe Woolley, who teaches concealed handgun courses in the Houston area and is a licensed firearms dealer, said the increase is noticeable.


    People are realizing that violence they once thought did not affect them has moved closer, and many fear gun control laws will grow stricter and further limit access to firearms, he said.


    "A lot of people went out and bought their first firearm, shot it, and said, 'Dang, this is fun,' " he said. "They went out and bought more. There is a whole new group of people, younger folks and ladies."

    Emotional reactions
    In a handgun training class recently at the Shiloh gun range in northwest Houston, students spent several hours learning the parts of handguns and how to aim them, the proper way to arm and hold them, and how to check if they're loaded.


    Post-Orlando "seems like the perfect time" to become a gun owner, said Cody J. Coffel.


    Coffel, 25, grew up around guns and has always believed in the right to carry, though he hadn't really handled them. But as a gay man, Coffel said he's a target. He and a friend plan to shop for a gun.


    "You never think, 'That could be me. I could have this power. I could have this control over myself and over my protection,'" Coffel said.

    "Knowing I'm here to achieve that power and protection over my own life, over myself and people who may be around, it's a relief."
    Ethan Guillory, 27, said the Orlando shooting made him "stop dragging my feet" and consider a pistol for personal protection. He grew up hunting with rifles and used them while in the military.


    "I just keep on thinking that Houston is kind of overdue, not to wish anything bad at all," Guillory said.

    Shiloh owner Jeff Sanford reached out to Houston's gay community in the wake of the Orlando shootings, and had 700 requests for license-to-carry classes within the first week.
    "We're definitely seeing new people," he said. "We're not just seeing the middle-age, conservative white guys. We're seeing your neighbor come in to learn to shoot: black, white, brown, women, men and now LGBT."


    University of Houston sociology instructor Luis Salinas said the emotional reactions to traumas large and small are natural.


    "It has this sort of emotional effect on people, this emotional, comforting effect where, 'I feel safe if I know I have a gun around me,'" he said. "We understand that response."


    Still, Salinas cited data suggesting that more guns may not be the best answer. Having a firearm brings an increased risk of injury or death, he said. And in a nightclub setting, a person might not even be allowed to carry a firearm.


    "The hyperbole has gotten really high on that," Salinas said.


    Fears subsiding

    By the time she'd fired 36 shots, Melissa McClaskey could feel her fears subsiding and her confidence growing.
    "It probably didn't happen until I fired that first round and realized that I was completely in control – that I had control over everything from the loading of that weapon to handling that weapon and shooting that weapon," she said.


    She maintains a "healthy fear," she said, but expects to grow more comfortable with additional training.


    "I definitely think it is safe to always have a healthy fear but I've overcome my aversion to having a weapon of that caliber to defend myself," she said.


    Melissa and Krysta McClaskey plan to continue the process for getting concealed carry permits, and say they'll purchase a weapon to have at home.


    Krysta McClaskey said arming herself isn't giving in to terror or letting evil "win." There's a way to follow the rules and still be able to protect yourself.


    "I look at it as I'm giving myself power," she said.


    "I'm taking power away from other people over me. I have the power to seal my own destiny and take care of myself."




    Guns sold by private individuals – including private sales at gun shows – do not require background checks.



    #2
    Some of the sheep are waking up. about frigging time.
    Originally posted by ChiefSailer
    Deplorables FTW!!

    Comment


      #3
      Fucking idiots are finally realizing they can prevent or stop a tragedy by being armed. Doesn't matter...because the imbeciles in charge don't care. They'll keep pushing for gun control. And these people arming themselves aren't all that enlightened if they're still going to vote for hillary.
      “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are." - Benjamin Franklin

      Comment


        #4
        [QUOTE][Fears subsiding

        By the time she'd fired 36 shots, Melissa McClaskey could feel her fears subsiding and her confidence growing.
        "It probably didn't happen until I fired that first round and realized that I was completely in control – that I had control over everything from the loading of that weapon to handling that weapon and shooting that weapon," she said.
        /QUOTE]

        Wait, what!?
        A lesbian fired a gun and her fears subsided, while Gersh Kuntzman (a putative male) had anxiety and "temporary PTSD"!? Link for the newbies:
        SHADAP VARMINT!

        Comment


          #5
          It's all false. All the surveys say gun ownership is on the decline. The antis are winning.

          Comment


            #6
            I Cannot understand why a normal human being would not want the ability to protect there families.
            it just makes no sense. people thinking of commiting a crime should have a fear for there life
            let's make america great again

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by FastPhil View Post
              It's all false. All the surveys say gun ownership is on the decline. The antis are winning.
              I get the sarcasm.

              http://www.expressnews.com/news/loca...es-8379418.php
              https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/..._year.pdf/view

              Gun shops all over the country have been seeing a big increase in newbs and first-timers. It spiked after Obama was elected, it spiked again after Newtown and we're in the midst of another spike right now. If you want to call Ferguson through (at least) this coming November a "spike". It's more like a "hump" or even more likely a trend if Hillary wins.

              While there's no way to say for sure, there's no question that those surveys that were conducted 20-30 years ago (citing 33% household gun ownership) are not close to being accurate or reliable anymore. Later surveys are skewed low. The claim that most of the increase in gun sales are by existing gun owners doesn't hold up to reason. Gun owners are not made of money, where they can just keep buying more and more guns at the pace that NICS checks are being conducted. Also, gun owners are far more likely to lie to a pollster in a survey than a non-gun owner. That is, many gun owners will not admit to owning guns but someone who does not own guns would almost never claim that they do. These polls are skewed by their very nature.

              First-time gun buyers overwhelmingly go to gun stores and undergo a NICS check. They don't usually buy used, through private sales or from gun shows. Most of the gun purchases that don't involve a NICS check are by existing gun owners from other gun owners. Therefore, it stands to reason that a significant % of the increase in the number of background checks is from new gun buyers. That can only result in a significant increase in overall gun ownership.

              I just hope they're voters.
              Last edited by BLAMMO!!; 07-18-2016, 10:56 AM.
              Give a man fire, and he stays warm for one night. Set a man on fire, and he stays warm for the rest of his life.

              Comment


                #8
                [QUOTE=Mad Russian;n52165]
                [Fears subsiding

                By the time she'd fired 36 shots, Melissa McClaskey could feel her fears subsiding and her confidence growing.
                "It probably didn't happen until I fired that first round and realized that I was completely in control – that I had control over everything from the loading of that weapon to handling that weapon and shooting that weapon," she said.
                /QUOTE]

                Wait, what!?
                A lesbian fired a gun and her fears subsided, while Gersh Kuntzman (a putative male) had anxiety and "temporary PTSD"!? Link for the newbies:
                Give it some time. She'll go out and get knocked up and when her girlfriend questions her, it'll be the guns fault.

                Comment

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