It's been a few days since the Orlando massacre, and people around the country have been rushing to buy guns. Smith and Wesson, one of the nation’s largest gun sellers, reported an almost 25 percent growth in sales in a year.
Here in Wyoming, it hasn't been much different as local gun shops have surged in sales these past few days. The question remains: what do you need to know before owning one?
It's fairly easy to purchase a gun in-state.
“We have pretty lenient gun laws,” Powder River Armory owner Brian Shain explained. “Federally you have to go through a background check, which requires a state-issued photo ID with a physical address on it. You go through a background check through the FBI. It usually takes about two minutes for the FBI to go through. If it’s deemed you're a responsible party that can own a gun, and it goes through that time, you leave with a gun.”
These days, Shain said he's seen many more people than in the past.
“If you compare to last year, which was a good year, we're about 40 percent up from expected sales this week,” he said.
Sixty percent of Wyoming residents own a gun. Are there any concerns? What should people be thinking of before purchasing a gun?
“There's also a lot of safety concerns,” Corporal Bryan McLimore of the Mills Police said. “It depends on what kind of household members they have: if they have children in the house, versus if there's just adults, or if they're single. The spouse and everybody in the household needs to be educated about the weapon, and everybody needs to be comfortable around it.”
Shain added, “You need to learn how to use it. Be safe with it—that's the biggest thing. People watch a TV show or watch a movie and think, ‘If I have a gun in my purse, or a gun in my car, or a gun on my person, I’m automatically safe.’ But you're not. You're more of a danger to yourself then, if you don't have the proper training.”
The good news is, there are many courses in Wyoming that can teach you, whether you're a first time gun owner or a professional. Garvin Durrant, a Navy veteran and owner of Diamond D Defense, said that people shouldn't be afraid of guns.
“Guns are just a tool,” Durrant said. “I've been shooting since I was six years old under Dad’s supervision. There's nothing frightening about a gun. And yeah, I think everybody should have a gun—if they feel comfortable with them. I don't own knitting needles; I don't know how to knit.”
Durrant says if you take a course on gun safety, it'll prepare you to protect yourself and your family in case of an emergency situation.
“If you can't run, flight or fight. If you can't run, you fight. That’s the only option you have,” Durrant added.
If you'd like more information on gun safety courses, or to contact Garvin's gun safety class, check the links with this story.