DULUTH (AP) -- Thousands of Minnesotans could get permits to carry concealed weapons under a new law, but one firearms instructor said only a small percentage of them will ever carry a gun in public.
"People just want to have that freedom, the option to carry if they want," said Russell Isola, a firearms trainer here. "I would say one out of 100 people who go through this class will ever carry a gun at any time. They want to have the right to do it, but normally people won't do it. It's too heavy. Can you imagine carrying a lead weight around in your pocket?"
Several lawmakers and others have criticized the law, which allows concealed guns to be carried onto local government property. Also, churches and other private organizations that don't want guns on their property must notify people that guns aren't allowed on the premises and post signs at entrances.
Isola has permits to carry a pistol in 23 states and said "you can count on two hands how many times I have carried a handgun."
That doesn't mean he hasn't been busy. He said his telephone started ringing at 6 a.m. the day after the law was enacted enabling most law-abiding Minnesotans to obtain a permit to carry a handgun.
His phone mail box has been filling up since April 29 with requests from those who want to take his safety class.
"As fast as I'd hang up the phone I'd get another call," Isola said.
He has trained 50 people on firearms safety this month. Starting Wednesday, those people will be able to apply to their sheriff's department for a permit to carry a handgun under the Minnesota law.
Under the law, applicants are required to receive instruction in the fundamentals of pistol use; successfully complete a shooting qualification exercise; and receive instruction in the fundamental legal aspects of pistol possession, carry and use, as well as self-defense and restrictions on the use of deadly force.
Duluth architect Robert Berquist and his wife are both American Association of Certified Firearms Instructors who operate a business in Duluth. Robert Berquist said he's received inquiries from male and female managers, traveling sales people and couples for training.
"It's purely for the right of personal protection," he said.
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