The kidnapping and murder of real estate agent Beverly Carter in Arkansas late last week has lead to an increase in the number of realtors thinking about personal protection, including obtaining their concealed carry permits.
Mrs. Carter’s suspected killer, Aaron Lewis, reportedly targeted Carter, “because she was just a woman that worked alone.”
Women are especially prominent in real estate, where agents often work alone and meet clients at unoccupied dwellings both day and night.
Sadly, September was “Realtor Safety Month” for the National Association of Realtors.
The murder has rattled realtors in Arkansas especially hard, spurring concealed carry instructor Carla Wells to offer a class specifically geared towards local female realtors:
“When Beverly was kidnapped and killed then I thought that would be the time to talk to the local agents,” Wells said.
Wells has been teaching for nearly five years. Her upcoming class is geared towards women.
Wells served in the military, but most importantly she said she wants female realtors to be protected.
“Women in general need to know how to clear the gun and fix any stoppages on their own and in a hurry,” Wells said. “Your life counts on it.”
The shock and disbelief over the attack has spurred not only local relators to consider carrying concealed weapons; agents as far away as Utah are now starting to consider a concealed weapon as being almost as important as a cell phone.
It is no coincidence Clearfield Mayor Mark Shepherd is organizing an effort to put together a basic firearms course for real estate agents.
The effort by Shepherd, president of the Northern Wasatch Realtors Association and owner of Remax Unlimited in Layton, comes on the heels of the murder of 49-year-old real estate agent Beverly Carter, who was killed last week in Arkansas after going to show a home. Carter’s body was found in a shallow grave on Tuesday.
“This story has hit home with a lot of agents,” said Shepherd, who is working with officials from Get Some Guns, an indoor shooting range in Layton, to provide his colleagues with gun safety instruction.
Real estate agents taking self-defense classes is not new, but in lieu of what occurred in Arkansas, Shepherd said, he believes now is the time for agents to receive training or refresh their training when it comes to firearm safety.
Supporters of gun control have been quick to downplay the killing, pointing it out as an isolated incident… and to a point, they are correct.
Years can go by without a realtor being murdered while showing a home. There is, however enough danger in the profession that there areprofessioanl real estate agent security consultants to educate agents in the specific threats and threat mitigation strategies for the industry, and the consultant interviewed by CNN said that there have been at least six attacks on realtors this year prior to Carter’s murder, including a rape.