New faces buying handguns, training to conceal carry for protection

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WGNO — From his firearms business and training facility in Arabi, Brannon LeBouef has seen many spikes in sales over the years.

“It was mostly, to be honest, a bunch of white guys that already had guns that were buying more guns,” LeBouef says.

Now there’s a new spike although with entirely different customers.

“What we are seeing now almost exclusively, in the upper 90 percentile, is people who have never had a fire in before,” he says.

But there’s something else. LeBouef says he’s seeing more women and African Americans buying guns. And they’re not only purchasing the guns, they’re training to get their state permit to conceal carry the guns for protection. Normally, LeBouef’s business offers two CHP classes each month.

“We’re doing one basically every Saturday and Sunday, and they’re full into September,” he said.

In New Orleans, Delisha Boyd owns her own real estate company and spends much of her work time arranging to show houses to potential buyers. Recently, she decided to buy her first gun. Boyd then sought training to get her concealed carry permit from firearms instructor Preston Jones in Metairie.

“I felt empowered, really,” Boyd told WGNO. “The kickback from the gun, the dos and don’ts that come along with that responsibility. It was an awesome class.”

Jones agrees with LeBouef that more first time gun owners, especially women and African Americans, are seeking training to carry their new weapons for protection. In fact, he offers some classes for women only.

“We don’t want no man present. We want to feel comfortable, with me and my sisters, and we want to be empowered to take that class,” Jones says.

LeBouef and Jones have decades of experience between them and can recognize new trends. WGNO asked state police for statistics on the number of concealed carry permits the department has issued, but troopers say they haven’t rallied the 2020 numbers yet.

As for why people are feeling the need to buy guns for the first time, both instructors agree. They say people are afraid of the uncertain and unprecedented times.

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