CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – With gun violence on the rise across the area, more people are taking a shot at trying to find ways to protect themselves.

There’s been a significant increase in the number of people preparing to protect themselves and their property. That, combined with COVID, is creating a huge hurdle in Mecklenburg County when it comes to granting gun permits to people seeking protection.

“We are starting to see more gun violence for ridiculous reasons,” said Shooters Express Chief Instructor Anthony Trivette.

It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. That’s the consensus right now when it comes to concealed carry.

“We proudly educated roughly 2,000 students last year alone,” Trivette said. “And we don’t see that decreasing any time soon.”

The number of people interested in concealed carry courses is skyrocketing. In fact, the desire to be armed is at an all-time high.

“We’ve seen roughly 136 to 140 classes since March 7th of last year,” said Trivette. “The year prior, we did about 12 classes.”

Concealed carry instructors credit COVID, combined with high crime, for triggering the increase in gun interest.

“People are truly seeing the rise in violence here in the Charlotte metro community,” said Trivette.  “Obviously, we’ve seen the highest number of homicides in the city’s history, and it’s continuing to get worse.”

That high demand is hindering the process of granting concealed carry permits to people in Mecklenburg County.

“Gaston County, you can expect 90 days,” Trivette said. “Catawba County, maybe four weeks. In Mecklenburg County, I’m hearing it’s taking seven to nine months to get a permit back, even on a renewal.”

Gun experts don’t see any relief in sight any time soon.

“And as far as demand for protection in the home, I just see it increasing,” Trivette said.