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COLUMBIA - Talk of gun legislation in Washington and the recent mass shootings are striking up gun conversations across the nation. However, that's not the main reason some local gun users are learning how to best protect themselves with firearms. 

Tony Perri bought his first handgun two weeks ago. 

"Local events, robberies, home invasions, I think those are the things that hit you more," Perri said. "With the national stories, you're like, ‘Oh, that won't happen here.' The stuff like home invasions and robberies, you know they're happening around you."

At Target Masters, owner Barry McKenzie said the phones have been ringing off the hook with people seeking gun training.

"A lot of people are pretty concerned. Especially about the recent events both in government and home invasions," McKenzie said. "We do get a lot of calls. Not a day goes by that we don't get dozens of calls. We're booked way in advance for conceal and carry."

Whether it's just on-the-range practice or enrolling in a gun training course, most people just want to be ready to protect themselves and their families.

"It's always good to practice with a firearm. It doesn't matter how great your firearms is. If you don't use it regularly, it's not going to do you any good if you're in a hunting or a self defense situation," gun user Andy Horine said. 

Target Masters offers introduction courses to handguns and conceal and carry courses. 

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