Roanoke Firearms Range and Training Center Sees Increase in Customers Learning Self-Defense

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The ongoing debate over gun control and the rising rate of violent crime across the country and the Commonwealth is actually causing a boom in business for some gun shops, with a range of Roanoke firearms seeing an increase in people wanting to learn how to protect themselves.

According Roanoke range and formationactivity has doubled in the past two to three months.

“I would say that middle-aged and elderly people are absolutely concerned about defending themselves,” said Dwayne Shepherd, supervisor of the Professional Security Service, which offers lessons at Roanoke Range & Training.

He says a lot of people in this age range don’t feel protected in Star City, so learning to carry and use a gun makes them feel safer.

“No one is here to take care of our seniors,” Shepherd told WFXR News.

Shepherd says there are several reasons behind the increase in the number of people wanting to learn self-defense.

A big concern he hears from customers is that they’re worried the police aren’t coming quickly enough.

“If you’re understaffed in the police department, you’re not getting what you need in the justice system, that makes security and everything that much more meaningful,” Shepherd said.

Another concern, according to Shepherd, is that customers believe that criminals are released too easily and return to the streets too quickly.

“If you do something, you spend enough time to maybe get rehabilitated,” Shepherd said.

He says he thinks it’s essential to learn how to protect yourself, because you never know when you’ll find yourself in a dangerous situation.

However, it is important to acquire enough knowledge on how to carry a gun if you choose it as a defensive weapon.

Shepherd told WFXR News that when he teaches trainees about safety, he tells them to “keep their head on a pivot,” which means they should always be alert and observant.

“If you see something wrong, see what’s going on and how to stop it,” Shepherd said.

A good rule of thumb for noticing strange behavior outdoors is if a person is holding a gym bag away from their body or walking with their arm close to their body because they are holding something that is hidden.

(Photo: Kelsey Jean-Baptiste/WFXR News)

When it comes to protecting yourself, Rodrigo Contreras – a shooting instructor at Roanoke Range & Training – says it starts with the fundamentals.

“Why are we here? What are we looking for? What is your desired end state?” he explained.

According to Contreras, it is important to understand why someone would want to carry a gun, because this type of weapon is used to cause serious harm to someone.

Plus, he says it tells him what kind of weapon he should advise someone to carry.

Next step: learn to shoot.

“We want to get as many shots as possible seven to 15 [meters]put them at ease at 25 [meters]call it back,” Contreras said.

He says many of his new clients are initially frustrated with their progress, but he tells them speed comes with repetition.

Contreras also teaches firstcomers that a gun is a tool of last resort, saying that just because you can use it doesn’t mean you should.

Contreras was in the army for 10 years, during which time he was a light infantryman, he became a land navigation instructor, etc. He then went to Radford University and found himself on the path to criminal justice. Later, he became a security guard, where he piqued his interest in teaching people how to protect themselves.

Now, he is a certified Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) trainer, which allows him to teach people how to use firearms, handcuffs, batons, and more.

Contreras thinks it’s important to protect yourself because people have forgotten how to defuse situations, instead reacting based on emotion.

“If you’re going to invest in yourself before you even look at the gun, examine how we treat each other as human beings. We react with what is given to us,” Contreras said.

He says you can’t choose when bad things can happen to you, but you can choose how to protect yourself.

Comments are closed.