Gun sellers increase their business by offering concealed-carry training

? Gun sellers say they have seen an increase in business from the state’s months-old law that allows residents to carry concealed weapons.

But for those who offer the training required to obtain a permit, the boost is not just from gun sales.

Bullet Shop owner Don Holman says he saw a 30 percent increase in handgun sales after the law was passed in March, when the House and Senate voted to override Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ veto of the guns bill.

“The minute the news was out that concealed carry passed, there was a good run,” Holman said. Since then, “I think it still has had some effect (on sales) but not near the magnitude” as it did early on.

Holman, however, has found another way to increase his business. He is one of 34 people in Sedgwick County who are certified concealed-carry handgun instructors, according to the Kansas attorney general’s office.

The law took effect July 1, with residents being able to seek concealed-carry permits. Those with a license won’t be able to begin carrying a concealed gun until Jan. 1.

Those wanting a permit must complete an eight-hour training course taught by a certified instructor. The course covers firearms safety and use, as well as discussion of the concealed-carry law.

Holman said he started offering the courses 11 days after the law took effect and has trained about 700 people.

“The thought in the back of my mind is there might be room for more training of different types,” Holman said, such as personal protection training.

Tom Barnett, owner of El Paso, Texas-based Vigilant Concepts, estimates he has trained about 350 people since August. For now, he is traveling from El Paso to lead the company’s concealed-carry training in Wichita. But he said he plans to move his business to Wichita next year, partly because of the training opportunities in the area.

“We feel it’s a good move,” he said.

He expects people to continue to seek the training long after the initial rush. He also hopes to expand what his company offers to include personal protection training.

“In the handgun concealed-carry class, you don’t get the training on confrontations, you don’t get to put it into practice,” he said.