The owner of a local gun shop who sells bullet-proof backpacks says he’s been getting calls from families of school-aged kids from all across the country.
“Most of the backpacks I’ve sold have not been local,” said Chris Endres, owner of CTR Firearms, located at 3025 Woodlane Drive in Janesville. “I’ve probably sold five [locally.] The rest have been shipped throughout the United States.”
CTR Firearms is one of the few local gun stores that sell bulletproof backpacks.
Endres says that, following some of the school shootings over the past year, families of school-aged kids have been calling his shop from across the country.
“A grandmother called me from Florida and said her granddaughter was scared to go to school and she ordered three backpacks for all her granddaughters,” he said.
Endres originally ordered 25 backpacks in January. They sold so fast, he had to put in a second order, and now stock is dwindling.
“We did go through the original twenty-five. I put in a second order for fifteen and we’re down to five,” he said.
With school shootings gaining so much national attention, Endres wasn’t shocked that parents were interested in the backpacks, especially during the back-to-school season.
But there was one group of consumers he didn’t anticipate: “College kids,” he said. “Because the campuses are ‘gun free zones,’ so they’re not supposed to carry, so the only thing they can do is protect themselves.”
When we last visited Endres’ shop earlier this summer, he demonstrated how the backpacks work.
Today, his six-year-old son, Cooper, showed us how it would work, with a child operating it, which took him only seconds to flip the pack over his head to protect himself. The pack contains plates inside the lining which are meant to absorb bullet impact.
Those buying the packs are doing so in hopes that they never have to use them.
“I just hope the kids have a beautiful, safe school year,” said Lisa Prunty, a back-to-school shopper.
“Most of them are buying them, I think, for peace of mind, than actual usage,” Endres said.
The bookbags go for $150 and weigh about three pounds.