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More and More Women Are Becoming Gun Owners

Women Gun Ownership

Women buying guns for protection is on the rise. In 2005, 13 percent of women owned a gun. By 2011, this number grew to 23 percent. Seventy-three percent of gun dealers said the number of female customers had gone up in 2011. Within the past two years, female purchasers of firearms has increased 40 percent. Not only are more women buying guns but they are learning how to use them.

The number of shooting clubs for women has risen. Other guns clubs are seeing large increases in the number of women who are joining. One such club is She Can Shoot, located near Washington, D.C., which teaches women gun safety and gun practice. The club was started by former Special Agent Tina Wilson-Cohen. Tina said more women are buying guns for self-defense and empowerment because violence can happen anywhere at any time.

Gun clubs for women are springing up in small towns as well as large cities like New York, Atlanta and Houston. It's a very different scenario now for women to meet for lunch and, rather than shopping, go to the shooting range. But the reasons for women buying guns is very different than those for men. Women often feel more vulnerable to violence. They are victims of domestic violence, stalking and date rape. Ms. Wilson-Cohen stated that "90 percent of women who joined did so because “they’ve been a victim at one point of their life, of stalking or date rape or domestic violence, or they have just felt so vulnerable, and they want to feel competent and like they can protect themselves.”

President Obama revitalized the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, but that doesn't always protect women. As a result, more and more women are no longer adverse to owning a gun, breaking the stereotypical profile on gun owners today. It is estimated that 12 million to 17 million women now are gun owners. As long as there is violence, this number will likely continue to grow.

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