Gun ownership on the rise - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Gun ownership on the rise

Gun sales across the country are on the rise.  The FBI conducted 16.5 million firearm background checks in 2011, up 14.5% from 2010.   Experts said there are a number of reasons for the increase - including the election.  But others say with high profile crimes in the new , a gun offers protection and peace of mind. 

"The Second Amendment guarantees us the right to protect ourselves, the last thing I want to have to do is us it," said David Britton, who along with his wife Brookie carries a gun and have them in their home.  "But if I have to use to the protect the life of my family or myself, I wouldn't hesitate to use it. 

"You have to know how to use a gun, and respect it," Brookie Britton said.  "And definitely not abuse the privilege.  Because it is a privilege that we can carry a handgun, but if you know how to use it, and defend yourself, it's definitely an asset."

Law enforcement officials point out that it is important that homeowners know the laws when it comes to self-defense, and also their responsibilities as a gun owner.

"If you're not responsible and you don't know when it's actually legal to use a weapon in self-defense, then you can find yourself in a tremendous amount of trouble with the law," said Huey Thornton, Chief of the Alabama State University Police and an adjunct criminal justice professor.

Thornton said gun owners should also take steps to secure their weapons.

 "A young child or something like that can get the weapon or injure themselves or the person is the unfortunate victim of a burglary.  And that is typically the way a large amount of weapons on the street make it to the street."

The Brittons place their weapons in a secure location.  They also educated their young son about the dangers.

Law enforcement recommends potential gun owners become familiar with the weapon.  The Montgomery Police Department reports an increase in the number of people seeking to be a part of their Firearms Familiarization Course.  Potential participants must be 21 years or older and carry a pistol permit issued by the Sheriff's office.

For information, you can call 240-4811 or email aturner@montgomeryal.gov.  The next courses are scheduled for August. 

Copyright 2012  WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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