Straightforward Shooting sees huge surge of interest in gun classes after Connecticut tragedy
"A lot of people will say it's because of the election [of Obama] and I tend to think that's true. I saw a little bit of a bump," she says. "But as these mass murders occur, people are concerned.... They feel that they need to be able to protect their own family. It's a sense of personal responsibility...not that they feel any disappointment in law enforcement...but a lot of people are saying, 'How can I protect myself in the event of a criminal attack before the police get there?'"
She saw a small jump in business after the shootings in Aurora, but nothing like what she is seeing now.
"People are starting to see that gun-free zones are really just the grounds for these types of tragedies to occur...and also because it was a school, it was little kids.... It just breaks your hearts.... It's just a feeling of horror that these small children were slaughtered and nobody had the ability to do anything about it," she says.
Francone's comments echo those made at the controversial press conference that the NRA held last week in which Wayne LaPierre said guns are not to blame for this kind of tragedy and schools need armed guards.
In Colorado and across the country, those who support stricter gun policies are criticizing the NRA and its backers, arguing that sensible laws that limit access to military style weapons and high-capacity magazines would help reduce the risk of such horrific massacres. They say that the answer is not more guns and that there are ways to enact reasonable policies that in no way violate people's rights to bear arms.
But Francone says calls for gun control are sparking fears in gun owners and those who want to become gun owners -- which, in turn, has increased interest in her courses.
"The common comment is, 'I want to take it before it's too late. I want to but a gun before I'm not able to do that. But I want to take a class before I buy it,'" she says. "As a citizen, I don't like the idea that my firearms could be taken away from me. I think the Second Amendment guarantees my right.... As an instructor, as a mother, I worry."
Gun-control advocates frequently note that their recommendations would not violate the Constitution, but would simply provide for better regulation. But their opponents disagree.
"I don't know that there is one simple solution, but I don't believe that restricting firearms from citizens who legally possess them is the answer," Francone says. "But frankly, I don't what is."
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