Hendry Co. Sheriff sees “overwhelming” increase in concealed permit course requests

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CLEWISTON, Fla.- With gun violence still fresh in the minds of people all over the globe, many Americans are now weighing in on the gun debate.

Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden isn’t just talking, he’s acting.

“We’can’t keep up, we’re overwhelmed with people requesting concealed permit courses.”

He tells WINK News his department is seeing a record number of people signing up for their regular permit course, and is happy others are preparing themselves.

Although the rise may be causes by the recent attacks in San Bernardino, California; Paris, France and a Planned Parenthood in Colorado, he’s happy to see more people are interested in learning the right way to use and own a gun in the U.S.

He addressed hot-topic questions within the gun debate saying:

“The question is.. How would you eliminate the guns? You can’t, guns are here. If you take guns away from the american people…You’re going to open up the biggest black market on firearms that we’ve ever seen. You know who’s gonna have them then? Criminals.”

His department’s course teaches laws, safety and the proper way to shoot a gun, if need be.

Whidden also said he disagree’s with the state of Florida’s requirement, which only asks people to shoot one round, before getting their permit.

“When we put on a class, we like to make sure the people are capable, and that they’re proficient with their firearms,” he said. “If somebody’s having an issue, we take it step by step. And we like to promote better shooters.”

In violent situations, he believes knowing how to use a gun properly could minimize damage.

He says the debate has focused on the weapons themselves, but needs to shift and focus on who’s pulling the trigger.

“If a drunk driver kills a family, they don;t blame the car or blame the alcohol, they blame the person,” he said. ” Yet, when somebody uses a gun, they blame the gun.”

Fellow course instructor Buck Holly says guns should only be used by those who have gone through the proper training.

“You need to have the confidence to be able to use it…So you do feel comfortable using it when all hell breaks lose, and you’re called upon to protect your life, or those of your family or those of the innocent public.”

To sign up for the course, contact the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5628 or 863-674-5604 or you can email them at ccorbitt@hendrysheriff.org or sharrelle@hendrysheriff.org.

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