According to one of Missoula's busiest firearms dealers, demand has been brisk over the last few months for handguns as a means of personal safety and security.

Axmen Firearms owner Rich Oschsner said since the terrorist incidents in Paris and in San Bernadino, California, more Missoula area residents are seeking firearms and training in how to use them.

"Nationwide, I think the demand is a bit higher than it is for us, but the trend we've noticed is more of a demand for concealed, small handguns that people can carry in case of something violent happening to them," Ochsner said. "A person who is proficient and well-trained in the use of firearms, I think a semi-automatic is the way to go. But for those who are just keeping a firearm for safety at home, I would recommend a revolver as a better choice."

Ochsner said firearms training is available at his store, as well as various other places.

"We do offer training here," he said. "We have two instructors and several range officers on staff. Our training classes are all full through the middle of February. The demand for classes has increased tenfold since everything happened."

Ochsner said more of his customers are also asking how to obtain a concealed carry permit.

"Once the person has proven a proficiency in the use of firearms, then they go to the sheriff's office in their county and get a packet which includes references, which must be notarized," he said. "The packet is then turned back over to the sheriff's office and the wait has been from six to ten weeks. The permit allows you to carry concealed within the city limits, but you cannot carry a weapon into any federal building, school, or place of business where the owner does not allow them."

And, of course, Ochsner said firearms and accessories make a thoughtful Christmas gift, as well.

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