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They’re Afraid. They’re Buying Guns. But They’re Not Voting for Trump

Published on October 25, 2020 10:51 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas?Noah Horner always wanted a gun, but the 24-year-old tech company engineer had never been motivated enough to follow through. At least until this year, when coronavirus shut down the country, the economy tanked, unemployment spiked, more than 220,000 died, and a series of killings by police inspired thousands of protests, some of which turned violent.

Six weeks ago, because of what he understatedly calls ?the current environment,? Horner bought his first firearm, a Glock 43X handgun that he keeps in his nightstand while he sleeps. But he didn?t want just to protect himself at home. He was worried he might need it as he was going about his daily life. In Austin, an Army sergeant had shot and killed a protester he said pointed a rifle at him after he turned his car onto a street where a demonstration was taking place. Horner wondered: What if I had to confront protesters alone at night? But if Horner wanted to be able to carry his new weapon in public, he?d need a license. Which is why on a recent Saturday morning, he drove to a strip mall in South Austin to sit in a windowless classroom at Central Texas Gun Works.

The class of about 20 people was being taught by the store?s owner, Michael Cargill, who offers up to four classes a week; the Saturday sessions are booked weeks in advance. He said he has noticed a shift in his clientele this year. Typically, Cargill?s customers are mostly conservative, he said, and the people enrolled in his license to carry classes are a mix of Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians. But lately, he said, the majority of the students are coming from ...

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