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More people signing up for classes to legally carry guns in St. Paul

Updated: September 11, 2019 10:13 PM

A permit-to-carry instructor, who does not want his last name revealed, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS his classes are filling up after a bloody year of gun violence in St. Paul.

Gene told KSTP he has seen twice as many people sign up for his permit-to-carry classes in 2019 compared to this same time a year ago, and the calls keep coming.

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"Just since I started talking to you today, my phone is ringing off the hook," said Gene. "I saw about 100 people last year who wanted to take the permit-to-carry classes so they can legally carry a gun, and this year, in St. Paul, it is way more than 200."

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And, Gene said, most of the people who are signing up for his classes come from the East Side and North End neighborhoods, where most of the shootings and shots fired calls have originated.

"I would say 80 percent of those who've signed up this year are from those two areas," said Gene. "And, I am seeing more and more women sign up because I think they see it as their last option to stay safe."

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Pam Tollefson lives in St. Paul's East Side and has not yet signed up for a permit-to-carry class, but she said she doesn't feel as safe as she once did.

"I grew up on the East Side and I love the East Side," said Tollefson. "But, I can tell the fear is starting to creep in with all the shootings this year and have never felt that fear before."

St. Paul Police Sergeant Mike Ernster said neighborhoods feel the negative effects of gunfire even when no one is injured or killed by the gunfire.

"They're hearing shots fired, they're experiencing it and it is real," said Ernster. "And, that is why we are flooding areas with more squads so we can respond quicker to shots fired and catch the guys shooting the guns as fast as we can."

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Credits

Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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