Concealed Carry On the Rise Among Women

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Over the last week news articles in Olmsted County in Minnesota, and El Paso, Texas have come out regarding the substantial rise in concealed carry permits being issued – with a focus on the fact that an increasing percentage of permit holders are women. It isn’t just Minnesota and Texas, though, it’s all across the United States; the number of women applying for CC permits has been increasing steadily since 2008, but it’s only been more recently that increase has become truly dramatic. In Washington state the number of women getting permits actually tripled in recent years, and in Florida and Tennessee it’s doubled. Oh, and in El Paso? Today there are 8 times more women with CC permits than there were just a few years ago; that’s not an increase, it’s a serious spike. And although an increase in women legally concealed carrying is great – statistics prove areas with good CC have lower crime rates overall from robbery to assault to murder, and millions of crimes are thwarted annually by law-abiding gun owners – I have concerns.

A woman being interviewed about her permit recently admitted the first time she’d ever fired a gun was at her state-required concealed carry permit class, and she wasn’t the only one. In fact, quite a few women fire their guns for the first time during that one-time class, and not all states require the class, meaning there are women with permits and no range time. And although having a permit doesn’t mean they’re carrying, you might be surprised how many are – without any experience whatsoever.

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Even the women who visit the range after class often end up only doing so once or twice; the number of women who have told me they’ve only fired their concealed carry weapons on three or four occasions over a span of a year or more certainly gives me pause. After all, there’s more to guns and concealed carry than just getting your permit; that piece of paper – or plastic card if you live in a state like Kentucky – doesn’t give you magical safety and proficiency powers. In fact, the number of women I’ve heard saying a bra holster is a viable way to confuse or startle a would-be attacker is just another piece of evidence when it comes to lacking experience.

Of course, the more welcoming a range is, the more time women will spend there, and the more proficient they’ll become. My home range, TG and G, is fantastic, but there are plenty out there that are less than stellar in their acceptance of female shooters. Many women get excited about guns and get their permits only to hit the range and become disheartened, and although things are certainly improving, the situation hasn’t evened out yet, not by a long shot.

 

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It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, you should go through proper firearms training before you conceal carry. If you’re a woman, find a range you love and an instructor you mesh with, whether it’s an experienced friend or an instructor at a firearms academy. By all means, get your permit – please! – but make sure you’re capable of safely handling that gun before you start walking around with it. A gun in the hands of a competent shooter during a life-threatening situation can save countless lives; a gun in the hands of a new, untrained shooter during that same situation can be more danger than help.

It’s also sad to note those same articles reference the shocking number of women who go through a violent assault before getting their permits. Many don’t take the necessary steps to protect themselves until after the fact, and the reasons behind that logic would take far too long to dissect here. Just think how many women would be walking around today without serious psychological, emotional, and, often, physical, scars if they’d gotten their permits sooner rather than later. If I seem to be contradicting myself, I’m not, I’m simply highlighting two issues of a multitude.

Don’t wait until damage has been done to go looking for ways to protect yourself. You have the right to protect yourself, male or female, and, according to our Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. Put the two together, get the proper training, and become the sheepdog, not one of the sheep.

I hope the number of women getting involved with firearms and obtaining their CC permits continues to increase, but I’d like to see those numbers matched with the proper training. Guys, be part of the solution by taking female shooters seriously and offering solid advice and straightforward, matter-of-fact training tips. There are plenty of women who love guns with a passion and take it seriously, so treat women like one of the guys by making them feel welcome – and wanted. After all, the more legally armed citizens there are out there who are also competent shooters, the safer we all are. Remember, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy – or girl – with a gun.

I’m a girl with a gun – and a CC permit – and proud of it. Is the woman in your life involved with firearms? If so, that’s awesome. If not, what are you waiting for? EIther way, take her to the range, but be careful, she just might outdo you.



katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • echelon

    Totally agree about having more training. But at least having the gun is better than the urinate/vomit method taught by other…umm…less enlightened folk.

  • noob

    hmm maybe some kind of outreach event could be organised at each local range? make it a social occasion – come along, meet people, train with firearms, enjoy a nice meal.

    something to sweeten the deal and get people to pay their money for ammo and take time out of their busy day. do it once a week after church and the community formed by it could even be useful in further reducing crime.

    An individual with a gun is great, but a whole network of armed families working together for mutual safety is even better.

  • AndyT

    My wife dislikes most indoor ranges due to the noise levels (makes her wear double ear pro) so we can only stay for about 30 minutes at a time. She is also very competitive and hates to take advice from me. Our solution? We shoot steel at her dads property. Outdoors so less noise issues, steel isn’t about “group size” it’s simply a matter of hit/miss. We do most of our handgun target practice at a range of 7-10 yards so it’s much less frustrating for her. Then we shoot our rifles at paper and I get frustrated that she makes smaller groups then me 🙁

  • Madcap_Magician

    Linky links to the articles mentioned in the lede? I live in Olmsted County, MN, and have not seen it.

  • Full Name

    As a man much more wise than me once said: “Having a gun does not make one ‘armed’ any more than having a guitar makes one a musician.”

    • unpundit

      That may be attributed to the late, great, Jeff Cooper.

  • Don Ward

    Clearly the answer is to manufacture more pink guns…

  • Dan

    Since getting together with my girlfriend, I have managed to get her and her two sisters and mom to get permits, and have went through thousands of rounds just teaching them basic fundamentals and skills, and getting them comfortable shooting. I just need to get them into some formal training when all 4 have the same time off. I feel as a gun owner it is my responsibility to make sure everyone around me also becomes an informed, trained, gun owner regardless of political affiliation

  • Yellow Devil

    Not surprising. When I was getting prints for my concealed carry permit (which isn’t required in AZ to CC or OC, I do it for reciprocity) most of the other patrons in line were women.