Posted: Feb 22, 2011 5:30 PM by Michael Shingleton
Updated: Feb 22, 2011 5:30 PM
BATON ROUGE - With the wave of violent crime in East Baton Rouge Parish over the past few years, more and more people are taking their protection into their own hands.
In 2006, Louisiana State Police issued 273 concealed weapons permits in East Baton Rouge Parish. In 2010, they issued 727; an increase of 37 percent.
Gordon Hutchinson has taught concealed weapons training for 15 years. With 40,000 permits statewide, Hutchinson thinks the parish number is low.
"We have seen a large influx of people taking the class. State Police have seen an increase in people making applications for the permits. A lot of it is driven by the fear of crime," Hutchinson said.
Some gun ranges, including "Baker Range" on Jefferson Street in Baker, have seen an increase in the number people practicing their shooting. Hutchinson believes law enforcement, nationwide, has always been reactive instead of proactive, and it's no surprise many are forced to protect themselves.
"You have to be prepared to defend yourself and these people are responsible law abiding citizens and they want to be able to defend themselves. You don't want to be forced into a situation where you have to shoot somebody. Most times the gun makes the problem go away to begin with," Hutchinson said.
One of his students, Katie Redding, got her permit 4 years ago after her husband was deployed for active duty.
"There's nothing more important that feeling safe with a gun in your hand. If you don't feel safe, you're not going to use it to its full ability," Redding said.
She keeps it with her at all times and believes practicing regularly will keep her prepared if she ever has to use her gun.
"If it comes down to it, I'm going to protect my family with deadly force."
Click the video link to check out Katie's shooting skills.
For more information on obtaining a concealed weapons permit, visit GordonHutchinson.com