MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - More folks who live in Shelby County are packing heat. The number of people with concealed gun permits in the county has risen dramatically this year compared to the same time last year.
42,000 people in Shelby County had gun permits at this time last year. Now more than 46,000 have permission to conceal and carry.
Harry Orr is one of those 46,000 Shelby Countians that have the proper paperwork to carry a weapon. He says it's important to be able to defend yourself, and having a firearm allows him to do that.
"I grew up shooting guns and hunting," he said, "I do feel safer being able to carry a hand gun."
Paul Godsey got his license for the sole purpose of home protection. He believes the reason more people are carrying handguns is a simple one.
"I would think security is a motivating factor."
Orr says his side-piece provides him with a peace of mind in a city that's known for people wanting to disturb the peace.
"If you look at the statistics, Memphis is pretty high up on the chart when it comes to murder and crime," Orr said.
For those that commit the crime of possession of a fireman without a permit, Godsey warns that "unless you have a license to carry you better not carry."
But if you decide to get a permit and carry, Orr said, "I do believe you need the proper training, you need proper practice and experience to carry a hand gun."
Anyone wishing to get a handgun permit must complete eight hours of training.