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Area gun sales increasing, cops on board with carry permits

In recent months, perhaps in reaction to political change and an economic downturn, gun sales have skyrocketed.

“There does seem to be a phenomena of people buying guns,” said Capt. Ben Harkins, Farragut liaison from Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

“Every-thing is changing with the economic status the way it is,” said Farragut businessman Garrell Foshee, owner of Personal Defense Options.

According to Foshee, personal defense and sport or recreation are the two main reasons people purchase guns.

“Everybody should be able to protect their home with either a lethal or a non-lethal weapon,” Fosche said of the possibility of more home invasions in economic hard times.

“But nobody wants to shoot and kill a person,” he added.

Harkins suspects citizens are buying guns simply because they are becoming more comfortable with the rights and responsibilities a handgun carry permit allows.

“People are understanding the permits and their responsibilities … they’re more comfortable,” he said.

According to Harkins, law enforcement accepts legal gun owners.

“As long as people are legal and law-abiding in their purchase and use of a firearm, law enforcement doesn’t have a problem with it,” he said.

“Traditionally, what we find is that people who legally own guns [are the ones] we don’t have a problem with.

“It’s those who don’t own guns legally that we have the biggest problem out of,” he added.

Foshee agreed with Harkins' assessment.

“It’s extremely illegal to own a firearm in Mexico, and we see and hear right now on the news about all the shootings that happen in Mexico,” Fosche said.

“No politician is going to be able to change the Constitution of the United States … people will be able to own a firearm,” Foshee said, although he added limitations or taxes could be issued on which guns deemed as legal to own.

Harkins, however, made clear firearms are dangerous.

“Guns are things that can be used to hurt others but there are a lot of other things that can be used to hurt others: guns, knives, automobiles,” he said.

“Safety is always important. We urge anybody who is purchasing a handgun, especially if it’s their first, we recommend they go through a safety class so they know how to handle it and how to keep it safe,” Harkins said.

“We have situations that occur around the country every year where people are killed by guns that aren’t safely stored and the wrong people get a hold of them,” he added.

The State of Tennessee requires permit owners to complete a safety and shooting course, “to learn about the legalities of owning a weapon and the possibility of using a weapon,” Harkins said.

According to Fosche, Personal Defense Options runs “state authorized carry and conceal” gun safety classes each month.

“We do a lot of training for schools, doctor’s offices and churches,” Foshee said.

“And we’ll also be having a personal safety awareness class.

“That covers what to watch out for when you’re walking, when you’re jogging, when you’re walking to your car in the parking lot,” he added.

Foshee said the classes are popular with offices and churches and are open to homeowner’s associations.


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