Texas ranks second in the nation when it comes to the number of people who have applied for background checks to receive their concealed handgun licenses. According to the FBI, more than a million people tried to obtain their CHLs in 2011. Those numbers have translated into an increase in gun sales on the South Plains.
J.D. Clay, a salesman at Sharpshooters on 50th and Slide, says they have seen their handgun sales increase by 10 to 15 percent over the past year. He can't pinpoint one specific reason why, but says many are spending money on handguns as an investment.
"They are true. Gun values increase and they have in just the last 5 years, they've increased considerably," Clay said.
Clay says a wide variety of people come in to purchase handguns.
"It's a whole slew of people. There's really no specific group that's purchasing guns. Americans, in general, are buying guns," Clay said.
Lubbock resident Tim Gafford has several handguns. He says he became a handgun owner about 12 years ago, when someone came into his business and began harassing his employees.
"I just decided, it's about time to get serious about self defense. I've also had someone try to break into my house before. I don't carry guns with me everywhere, but I have them if necessary," Gafford said.
Gafford has never had to use a handgun to defend himself, but he says having one brings him peace of mind.
"Firearms should be the last thing you should have to use. But, you need to be able to defend yourself these days. It's unfortunate, but there are violent people out in this world and in our town," Gafford said.
To legally conceal a handgun, you must obtain a Certified Handgun License. Clay says it's a long process, but the goal is to thoroughly vet anyone who wants to legally possess a gun.
"It's a thought-out process. You have got to find someone who teaches it, who is a qualified instructor, approved by the state of Texas. There are some hoops to go through, but the end result is worth it," Clay said.
For more information on how to obtain your CHL, visit: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/administration/crime_records/chl/chlsindex.htm
Copyright 2012 KCBD NewsChannel 11