More women are buying and using guns, according to gun dealers and manufacturers. Although many women purchase guns for personal security, gun sports are increasing in popularity.
As reported by the New York Times, the number of women participating in gun sports, such as target shooting and hunting, has steadily increased over the last decade. It is estimated that women account for more than 25 percent of target shooting participants.
Women’s shooting clubs have increased as well. Many shooting ranges have groups that meet regularly at firing ranges. The “She Can Shoot” women’s league has over 3,000 members and 10 chapters throughout the US. The league was formed by former secret service agent Tina Wilson-Cohen.
Another ladies only organization is “A Girl And A Gun” The league, formed in Texas, promotes recreation, education, and competition. Their mission statement as stated on their website includes:
“To educate and encourage women about firearm usage, safety, and promote women’s shooting interest and participation in the competitive shooting sports.”
It is impossible to determine the exact number of women that own guns in the US, but estimates run between 12 and 17 million. Although more women are purchasing and learning how to use guns, they are still often stereotyped.
Professor Mary Stange of Skidmore College thinks it may be difficult for women to overcome preconceptions:
“There’s this idea that women are more affiliative, more peace loving, more pacifistic, which should then make women as a group gun averse.”
Stange also mentions the mother of Adam Lanza and how the tragedy in Newtown brought negative attention to women who own or want to purchase guns. In the media, Lanza’s mother, who owned several guns, was labeled as a “gun-crazed mother.” This image, according to Stange, is damaging.
Most women who are interested in purchasing and learning how to use guns are not “gun-crazed”; they are simply trying to protect themselves or enjoy the sport.