In the wake of the deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas earlier this month, we’ve seen the media breathlessly report on (and in many cases support) all kinds of gun control efforts at the state and federal level. At the same time, support for and the exercise of Second Amendment rights has been called scary, threatening, potentially violent, and other phrases designed to elicit fear among non-gun owners. Gun control advocates are pushing hard to de-normalize gun ownership right now, but in El Paso, a growing number of Hispanic residents are pushing back.
More El Paso residents than ever before crowded into a class over the weekend to become certified to carry a concealed gun in public in Texas after this month’s mass shooting at a Walmart store that killed 22 people.
Guadalupe Segovia, 35, was at the class with her two children. She said her military husband had long been pushing for her to get a concealed-carry license, which allows the holder to wear a gun hidden under their clothes or carry it in a purse when they are in public.
Segovia said she felt urgency to do the required training now after the attack hit close to home. “I’m still going to be scared, even carrying a weapon,” she said.
The vast majority of people at the classes were Hispanic; El Paso is a predominantly Latino city. Police say the accused gunman deliberately attacked Hispanics in the Walmart.
There’s a hashtag I like to use on Twitter when I send out armed citizen stories: #SelfDefenseIsAHumanRight. Stories like this prove my point. Our right to self-defense and our right to keep and bear arms is a right that all law-abiding Americans should be able to freely exercise. Your skin color, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or even the population density of your neighborhood should have no bearing on your Second Amendment rights. If Hispanics were targeted by the killer in El Paso, Texas, it makes perfect sense that those who could have been victims are now choosing to arm themselves for self-defense in the future.
Mike McIntyre, who manages a gun store and range in El Paso, says the demand for concealed carry courses is off the charts.
“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.
“We actually had two people buy guns here who were actually in the Walmart on the day of the shooting. The other people are just saying, ‘Hey, you know I want to be able to protect myself in the event of something going on.’,” he said.
“This is not the last mass shooting we’re going to see.”
Kudos to Reuters for reporting on this surge in interest in the right to carry, because most media outlets are too busy providing coverage and even explicit support for all kinds of gun control laws. That can leave viewers or readers with the false impression that the only response to the shootings in El Paso is coming from Americans demanding a semi-auto ban, red flag laws, or even outright repeal of the Second Amendment, when we know that after a horrific event like the shootings in El Paso, many of us respond by empowering ourselves with the means and training to fight back if necessary.
Many media outlets will ignore this story or just pretend it didn’t actually happen, because it doesn’t fit the anti-gun narrative they’re spinning. Stories like this can cut into support for gun control, so instead of presenting news of these concealed carry courses, the anti-gun press just sits on stories like this, never reporting what’s taking place at ranges around El Paso. It’s harder to de-normalize gun ownership when the bays at the local range are occupied by a pretty good cross-section of American society.
Personally, I’m glad to see these packed concealed carry courses there in El Paso. It’ll be worth following up with gun stores in the area over the coming weeks and months to see if interest spiked and quickly subsided, or if there’s a sustained interest in the right to bear arms within the city’s large Hispanic population. I suspect this interest in concealed carry and self-defense isn’t going to fade away anytime soon.