Hispanics in El Paso, feeling threatened after the recent Walmart shooting in which the alleged gunman appeared to have deliberately targeted the minority group, are filling up concealed-carry classes in the city and purchasing firearms, Reuters reports.
Michael McIntyre, general manager of Gun Central, one of the largest gun shops in El Paso, said that his store had a two-fold increase in the number of firearms sold in the aftermath of the Walmart shooting. That didn’t happen the last time there was a mass shooting in Texas. He said that some of the customers were there on the day of the shooting.
“People are just saying, ‘Hey, you know I want to be able to protect myself in the event of something going on,'” he said.
Mostly, they were buying handguns, which can be easily concealed on one’s person or in a purse. However, in Texas you have to have a permit to carry a weapon in such a way, and that permitting process requires a class. McIntyre said that his classes are filling up, too.
“I have over 50 for this Saturday class and approximately the same amount for the Sunday class, and I normally have approximately seven,” McIntyre said.
Further, McIntyre said that “this is not the last mass shooting we’re going to see.”
BREAKING: Authorities say the 21-year-old white man accused of carrying out the deadly mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart confessed after surrendering and said he had been targeting Mexicans https://t.co/vGzj2znllt #ElPasoShooting pic.twitter.com/cbv3U5OL3r
— Russell Contreras (@RussContreras) August 9, 2019
Ed Flores, owner of Tactical Hunter in El Paso, said via The Washington Examiner that “people are afraid.”
“Our people are taking protection into their own hands,” he said.
Guadalupe Segovia, 35, is a Latina woman who has taken her protection into her own hands. She said that for years, her husband has been telling her to get a concealed-carry license. Now, she said, it’s time, even though she’s not sure how much good it will do.
“I’m still going to be scared, even carrying a weapon,” she said.
She’s also trying to convince her sisters to get armed.
“I’ve already told them, ‘Let’s go practice. Let’s go practice.’ It’s not just this one time that we have to keep coming to ranges and so you can feel familiarized with a weapon and be OK with it,” she said.
Meanwhile, Texas does not appear to be poised to tighten up its gun laws in the wake of the El Paso shooting. In fact, the laws are loosening up: nine bills, signed into law by Governor Greg Abbot and backed by the National Rifle Association, will go into effect on September 1, and all are aimed at loosening up Texas’ gun laws.