Firearms training surges in Tampa Bay after Parkland school shooting

Posted at 10:12 PM, Feb 28, 2018

BRANDON, Fla. — Two weeks after a gunman took 17 innocent lives at a south Florida high school, people in Tampa Bay are rushing to receive firearms training. 

Ryan Thomas, the owner of Tampa Carry, says business has been "non-stop" ever since the Parkland shooting. 

Complete Coverage: Parkland School Shooting

Thomas typically teaches five concealed carry classes per week. He says high demand has pushed his company to expand to nine classes last week. 

"We never know when a bad guy is going to kick in your door and try to hurt your family, and you have to be ready for those moments," said Thomas. 

While data on gun permit applications requested after Parkland won't be available until next month, the state processed more than double the average number of background checks in the week following the Pulse nightclub shooting. 

"Anytime there's an active shooter or an extreme amount of violence that happens, we always notice a massive spike in new bookings," said Thomas. 

Heather Conkey, a mother of three, completed her concealed carry training this week. She's planning to apply for a gun permit through Florida's Department of Agriculture on Friday. 

"The more of us that are responsible, educated and have a concealed weapons permit, the better off we are as a society," said Conkey. 

Thomas says since the tragedy in South Florida, he's seen an uptick in teachers and concerned parents signing up for his class. 

"Teachers want the option to be able to do something if a bad guy approaches and is trying to hurt them or hurt their children," said Thomas. 

The trend of surging gun sales and training after a mass shooting was evident last weekend as the Tampa Gun Show saw a record attendance of about 13,000 people.