Gregory Reis' class had plenty of visual training, with real guns, a prop for demonstrations, gun cleaning tips and more.

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‘It’s a touchy subject’

Published 10:39am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gun permits in high demand as debate continues

About 45 people piled into the Grand Meadow Fire Hall on Sunday. All of them had one goal.

After safely handling their firearms at the local gun club and attending a four and a half hour class, they left with their training certificates to get permits to carry firearms in Minnesota. Perhaps not everyone in the class was worried about new legislation or potential changes to laws, but it was obvious that issue was on many minds.

“I pray they don’t [change],” Minnesota and NRA-certified firearm instructor Gregory Reis said about the laws.

Reis didn’t beat around the bush, and opened by mentioning how gun owners are worried about change.

It’s no secret that has a lot to do with the influx of carry permits issued in the last month in Minnesota.

“And lately, I’ve been really, really busy,” Reis said.

Reis, from Lakeville, teaches his course all around the state if enough people sign up. Sunday was the third time he taught the class in Grand Meadow in the past few months, and plenty of people who missed Sunday’s class say they want him back. He’ll be on the road around the state for plenty of weekends to come.

Reis said Minnesota issued 5,000 more carry permits in January, bringing the total number of people with permits in the state to 119,000. To Reis, that’s not enough. He wants that number at 250,000 or more, and hopes more numbers make a statement.

Scott and Terri Hurley from Grand Meadow had been thinking about taking the permit to carry course for quite some time. The recent chatter about gun violence didn’t spur them to take the class, they said; however, it reminded them it was an option.

“I think it just reminded me it was something I wanted to do,” Terri said.

Like Reis, though, Terri doesn’t like talk about potential changes to gun laws.

“It bothers me a lot,” she said. “To take away that right, to protect one’s life, I feel is very concerning.”

Others, like Paul Stahnke of Albert Lea, are a bit disturbed by what they’ve heard lately. Yet there are several reasons people take the course, such as carrying a sidearm for bear protection while in the northwoods. That’s the reason Stahnke wanted to take the course in the first place.

Others weren’t willing to share the fact they were getting their permits to carry, or much less the fact they own guns.

“It’s a touchy subject,” Stahnke said.

Because it can be a touchy subject, Reis wants people who are educated about guns, and especially the laws, to share that information with others.

Gregory Reis of Lakeville teaches a class of 45 people in Grand Meadow looking to get their carry permits Sunday afternoon

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