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Published: Monday, February 05, 2018 @ 5:38 PM
— More Ohioans than ever are buying guns for protection. Sherry Washington of Centerville decided to buy one and signed up to take a C-C-W class to learn how to use it.
"Times are changing and it's a comfort," said Washington.
For other Miami Valley residents, it's all about invoking their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm.
INTERACTIVE QUIZ: How well do you know Ohio’s gun laws?
"I have guns at home and I may carry it sometimes," said Jim McDowell of Troy. "I may not but I want to have that option."
Either way, for long-time C-C-W instructor Sanford Whitlow, it is about education, proficiency and being responsible.
"I thing anybody who's carrying a gun should have some kind of training. I think that should be mandatory," said Whitlow of Personal Defense Incorporated. "I don't want you around me if you don't know what you're doing. It's that simple."
Whitlow has been teaching C-C-W classes since it became legal in Ohio to conceal and carry a firearm. He said he has seen a lot of changes including the reasons why many people want to own a gun. In the past, most of his students got a gun because it was their right. Now, Whitlow said, he's hearing more about people being afraid and wanting to protect themselves.
Fear is the reason said Sherry Washington, after she heard about a car-jacking in an area she often travels.
"I'm always stuck at that light at Salem and Grand, so I started carrying a gun for years. I carried it in the side of the car seat. I carried it on the door," said Washington. "Even though I knew it was wrong, I wanted to be safe for me and my kids.
Jim McDowell of Troy is a teacher who said he is preparing for the day when the law might allow him to protect his students.
"I think its something that's coming. It should be there. Schools are just sitting ducks as far as i'm concerned," said McDowell.
Whitlow said that no matter what the reason for owning a gun, it is important to train on how to use it and keep up with the laws. For example; employees who are not federal workers can now keep a gun secured in their vehicle. That includes teachers, pastors, retail workers and anyone who doesn't work on a federal property can keep a gun locked in their car. However, he said the rules are different if you ride an RTA bus.
"If you are not a C-C-W holder, you are not allowed to carry a firearm on our property or on our buses," said Jessica Olson, RTA spokesperson.
There is another change that impacts military men and women in the Miami Valley.
"Now if you're active duty military, you can actually get a license to carry a gun without taking the class," said Whitlow.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office tells us that nearly 118,000 people got their C-C-W license in 2017 compared to only 53,000 in 2012. Whitlow said he is not surprised by those numbers because dangerous times demand personal protection.