If you are a Texan, odds are staccato gunshots at a shooting range are a familiar sound. Guns are not just part of the Texas vocabulary – they are part of the social, cultural, and political architecture.
As we speak, Texans are flocking to shooting ranges in increasing numbers to acquire handgun licenses. In fact, applications are surging – from December through February of this year, a 140 percent increase over the same period last year. which means what exactly? for all of us? It’s a story that
John Burnett, an NPR reporter based in the Texas Capitol city, went to Central Texas Gun Works to get his handgun license last year. He says Americans of all types and backgrounds are applying to get concealed handgun licenses.
“There’s a movement, almost a revolution, in concealed carry,” he says. “Eleven states don’t require any training whatsoever – it’s called Constitutional carry. The others require some sort of training – Texas is one of those. It requires about 5-6 hours of classroom time and some range time.”
Burnett interviewed nearly two dozen concealed carry license holders and found that many have a perception of security, despite overall decreases in violent crime across the country.
“It’s counterintuitive that folks feel they need to carry a pistol hidden on their belt to be safer,” he says. “I think really what’s driving this are some of the mass shootings and the terrorist shootings.”
Instructors told Burnett that they see spikes in applications after any sort of mass shooting incident, including recent ones in Paris and Brussels.
Listen to the full interview, including clips of Burnett’s visit to the Texas Firearms Festival, in the audio player above.