'Permit to Carry' Courses Ride Wave of Gun Debate Sales

Updated: 01/10/2013 7:56 AM KSTP.com By: Mark Albert

For businessman Chris Schutrop, the days now start at 4 a.m.

"We're having the phone ring off the hook right now."

Schutrop is co-owner and CEO of Midwest Carry Academy, a business that provides 'Permit to Carry' firearms courses at seven metro locations.

His business planned a promotion through the online daily deals website Groupon for February.

But after seeing the recent 80 to 100 percent spike in attendance at local gun shows and the 64 percent surge in December of Minnesotans seeking background checks to purchase a gun, Schutrop moved the promotion up to Wednesday, when the company's deal hit thousands of email boxes across the Twin Cities.

By evening, the company had sold out of spots in its courses until the end of March. In fact, the Academy will train more people in January, Schutrop said, than it did in all of 2011.

The company just hired another instructor on Wednesday.

"Our entire goal is not to go out there and make a ton of money," Schutrop explained. "Our entire goal is to basically be passionate about what we love doing and getting as many people educated as possible."

The surge in interest comes after President Obama's re-election and the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, which touched off a nationwide debate by lawmakers over whether tougher gun laws are needed.

Business for Schutrop's company has not slowed down since.

"I have to give out my 'Employee of the Year' award right now to all the politicians in Washington and thank them for helping us."