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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- A string of violent crime in New Orleans has some families searching for their own personal protection. One Marrero-based company is seeing a spike in people wanting firearms.

'It's the first gun I've owned in my life, the first one I've ever bought. I've shot guns as a child with my dad hunting,' said Jimmy Gueydan, who showed up at Bayou Dragon shooting range in Marrero.

The Sunday afternoon field trip turning into a family affair.

'Two brothers and one nephew and some other friends. So it's actually nine of us came over,' said Gueydan, who for 60 years never seriously considered buying a firearm until now.

'It's been 30 years or so since I've fooled with a gun,' said Richard Gueydan.

Violent crime in the New Orleans metro area is what changed these brothers' minds.

'The crime that's going on, I've never seen it so bad,' added Richard Gueydan.

NRA certified instructor Marshall Pierre said the Gueydans aren't alone.

'We're getting quite a few phone calls that are coming in, folks concerned about the rash of shootings that have been happening in the community,' said Pierre.

A total of 13 people signed up for Sunday's class hoping to land a concealed handgun permit.

Even though more and more concerned citizens are showing up for Pierre's course, the instructor makes it a point to remind his clients about responsible gun ownership.

'The police can't be everywhere, but that doesn't give you a license to go out and take matters into your own hands. Here we're teaching people, you are taking a concealed weapons course, but at the same time you're ultimately responsible for your actions,' said Pierre.

While these students learn their firearm basics, one Metairie man hopes to walk away with peace of mind.

'The things that are happening i just feel a little safer if I have a gun with me and know how to use it properly,' said Richard.

Pierre Basic Guns says about 80 percent of the people who took the weekend course on Sunday were first-time concealed handgun permit seekers. The class is required by state law.

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