ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Despite changing policy, many are fearful of the uptick in gun violence around the nation. Safety became the number one concern for many families, students, and community members. Neighbors are taking action in the Twin Tiers to feel safer.

Memorials like this one in Buffalo and similar events have some people thinking about owning a weapon.

“We’ve seen an uptick in people’s coming to purchase a firearm separately to protect themselves. The mass shootings have been indiscriminate shootings that have happened at grocery stores, malls, and schools. People don’t know where they’re going to happen. So they want to be prepared for such,” said Zach Pugh, Owner, of Pugh Self-Protection & Combatives.

Soon the ability for people to have access to guns like these will change.

“The law has passed with the legislature at this point. It hasn’t become law, yet we don’t know when it will take effect. What that’s going to change is instead of being 18 to buy a semi-automatic rifle which is the current law, they’re supposedly changing it that you’re going have to be 21 and have a permit to do so,” said Pugh.

Pugh shared that a lot of people are purchasing what he called semi-automatic rifles before the law changing, part of the reason it’s labeled as some of the most effective and efficient means to protect yourselves.

“People are worried that a lot of the good options that are used to protect themselves, will be taken off the table. It’s going to be a lot harder for them to get certain kinds of guns,” said Pugh.

Law enforcement says it’s common practice now when security threats are high, more people are vulnerable and looking for ways to provide more security and comfort for themselves and their families.

“I’m not so sure that every person purchasing weapons at this point are people that should be purchasing the weapons,” said Anthony Alvernaz, Chief of Police, Elmira Police Department.

One neighbor says protecting herself became a key component with all the violence happening in the world.

“There’s a crime surge. I’m older, I just wanted to feel safer,” said Mary Walton, a Customer.

In July, The Pugh Self-Protection and Combatives plan to hold active shooter response training for community members to feel protected in the area.