BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The number of people trying to get concealed weapon permits has increased after two mass shooting just one week apart.
On July 16, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at two military bases in Chattanooga, Tennessee killing five people. A week later on July 23, 59-year-old John Russell Houser opened fire during a movie at the Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, killing two women and injuring nine others.
"Right here, an hour away, kind of prompted the decision," said Jill Ortego.
Jill and her husband Darren Ortego said they signed up to get their concealed weapon permits. They said it is something they had been considering, but then when last Thursday's events unfolded in Lafayette, they knew it was time.
"Because it's nearby, it's a little more of that 'in your face,' and it's one of those motivating factors for us to quit talking about it and do something to protect ourselves to be on the safe side," said Darren.
Wade Duty with Precision Firearms said the couple is just one example of the increasing number of people looking to protect themselves.
"We did see a dramatic spike after the theater shooting in Lafayette, by almost 35 to 50 percent," said Duty.
Duty said they started getting more calls after the Chattanooga shooting, and then a week later with the one in Lafayette. He said, typically, they book out four weeks in advance for concealed permit classes. They are now booking into mid-late October.
"We probably did 45 to 50 in a week for bookings, and that's not typical for us," said Duty. "Typical would be six to eight."
Louisiana is also an open carry state meaning anyone can legally carry a firearm that is in plain sight where it is legally allowed. So why do you need a concealed permit? Duty said it's about learning how to use a gun safely and properly.
"Once you go through the permitting process for concealed carry, you're actually entitled to carry in some locations that open carry is not," said Duty.
But Duty will tell you when they teach classes, they do not teach people to take on active shooters by risking their own lives. It is to teach proper technique if you ever had to use your weapon, and the Ortegos said that's the main reason they are taking the class Saturday.
"The way the world is changing, we figured it would be just a wise thing to have protection," said Jill Ortego.
"It's about being able to protect your family if you have to," said Darren Ortego.
After completing a concealed permit class, participants have to go through the state to turn in all the paperwork, get verified and then get the actual permit.