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As Pa. Residents Acquire Arms, They’re Also Learning About Safety



From The Lehigh Valley Project 9/12 Tea Party–Second Amendment Committee

As the number of license-to-carry permits issued in places like Lawrence County goes up, firearms owners and enthusiasts are showing that responsibility is key in making the choice to carry, according to an article.

In 2015, Lawrence County Sheriff Perry Quahliero issued 2,515 license-to-carry permits; in 2016, he issued 2,894, an increase of 15 percent, the report notes. Randall Blinn, owner of Randall Guns in Ellwood City since 1979, said purchase trends in his store tend to align with the country’s political direction.

“About eight years ago we saw a surge [in gun purchases] for personal protection,” Blinn said. “I talked to a lot of people who were worried that their rights would be taken away and they wanted to carry.”

Along with increased firearms purchases Blinn said, was the purchase of ammunition. He said he saw another surge in 2012. But Blinn has also seen an increase in education that gun owners are receiving before they get a firearm.

“Most people around here take owning a gun seriously,” Blinn said, according to the article. “There are seminars that are constantly held in the area. And it’s not so much how to shoot a gun; it’s what will happen if you do use a gun to protect yourself.”

Pittsburgh resident Drew Keele has been a gun owner for over 12 years and a member of the Lawrence County Sportsman’s Association for three years. In addition to collecting firearms, Keele is a competitive shooter who is also a member of the International Defensive Pistol Association. He said while he enjoys the sport, using a gun for personal protection is a last resort.

“I choose to carry because of the society we live in,” Keele said, according to the article. “I shoot competitively, am highly trained, and will use my weapon as a last resort to protect the lives of my family and myself.”

Blinn believes most local gun owners are law-abiding citizens, and said the crime he is aware of has very little to do with guns.

“A big problem in our area is drugs,” the article quotes Blinn as saying. “I believe if you’d take the drug connections out of local crime, most of the gun violence would cease,”

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