WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) – Legally seizing weapons is how various firearms instructors say people have responded to not only last year’s pandemic and national racial injustice protests, but now also to DC’s rise in homicides.
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FOX 5 sat in part two of an area instructor’s Friday DC hidden carry permit hour. John Ayala, who owns ARCHANGEL Security and Training and has a DC Police certification to teach this course, rents a space in the Maryland Small Arms Range in Upper Marlboro to hit the area with students.
You could see some of his students shaking as they loaded the gun and fired for the first time.
A student named Danisa Edwards told FOX 5 that she had a license in another state, but after three years in the district, she is now applying for a DC-hidden transportation permit because she wants to make sure her family is protected.
“There’s a lot of madness where I live, and like the other night I heard shots right at my back door,” Edwards said, “… the shots could have entered my house anytime, you do not know what to do. happen, and weapons can go through houses. “
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Ayala told FOX 5 that he has seen an explosion of people legally wanting to carry firearms in the district, especially among women. A major law change in 2017 made it easier for people to do so.
Ayala says, however, that the larger waves of applicants came recently, especially during the pandemic and national social unrest.
Now Ayala says it comes in response to the continued shootings and increase in homicides after DC reported a 12% increase in homicides from the same time last year.
As of Friday, 149 people have been killed in the district so far in 2021.
“A lot of women … especially African American women who come to us and ask us to train them. And that’s because there have been a lot of women who were shot in DC. We were right at the convention yesterday. So why the women feel they have to protect themselves, ”Ayala said.
In addition to being a firearms instructor, Ayala is also a longtime activist whose call for DC gun violence to end.
His family was subjected to violence when his 11-year-old grandson, Davon McNeal, was shot and killed in a cookout on July 4 in Southeast DC.
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“The reason I can do them both is because I’m a true believer if more people have firearms that we’re going to have less crime in the DC area,” Ayala, who also told FOX 5, said: that he means, “when bad people see citizens shooting back and protecting themselves – evil guys will be very careful about trying to steal someone.”
DC police have issued thousands of DC-hidden transportation permits since 2017. These are the approved permit numbers that were proven for FOX 5 on Friday:
Approved hidden transport permit statistics
– 2016: 44
– 2017: 94
– 2018: 2044
– 2019: 1734
– 2020 (full year): 2207
– 2020 (YTD – January 1 – September 10): 1034
– 2021 (YTD- 1. January- 10. September): 2585
Of the 2,585 permit applications granted so far this year, police say just over half or about 52% of the hidden bear applicants approved live outside the district.
FOX 5 asked DC police if they had any concerns with the large number of permits applied for and granted. They did not respond – but a spokesman responded in a statement:
“MPD expects the public to comply with the requirements and eligibility of holders of concealed transportation permits. Anyone who fails to comply with these requirements will be penalized under DC Official Code 7-2507.06. For more information on firearms registration, visit our website at mpdc. dc.gov. “
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Ayala tells FOX 5 to him, the most important thing is that there are responsible and trained gun owners.
“Many of us are single mothers and just want to protect our house and our families,” Edwards said.