The demographics of gun ownership are changing. They have been for quite some time—and it’s all stemming from women becoming more involved in shooting sports and gun ownership. The gun market sees female participation as the next frontier in their industry. Women from across the country are lining up for their concealed carry permits, with a 270 percent increase since 2007. Yeah, women packing heat are the fastest growing demographic of new gun owners, who are dispelling many stereotypes about the soccer mom/city woman’s aversion to firearms.
Meet Carrie Lightfoot of Well Armed Woman, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women become trained and well versed in the world of firearms. They’re now in 49 states with 280 active chapters. Lightfoot told The Guardian that the reason the rate for female gun ownership has spiked is due to the fact that information and training for women is now more accessible. The data on gun ownership from the Harvard/Northeastern survey on gun ownership shows that 43 percent of handgun owners are women; almost 25 percent live in urban areas. The reasons vary, but it’s mostly because they want a firearm for self-protection due to recent urban unrest; they support the Second Amendment; and because they want to protect themselves, they see firearms as an equalizer against would-be attackers, mainly from sexual predators.
The first time Jenny Hildebrand went shooting, she screamed each time she pulled the trigger. She was shaking and wanted to cry as she fired off dozens of rounds.
Bang. Bang. Bang. By the end of her first session, she felt more confident around guns and returned to the range a few days later to check out the Well Armed Woman club.
She did not learn to shoot for self-protection, but that is why the Baltimore city resident ultimately decided to buy a gun. When the city erupted in protests after the police killing of Freddie Gray, she bought a shotgun.
And since acquiring a handgun license, she has purchased two more firearms. She also carries a knife.
“Women need to be able to protect themselves no matter what, whether it’s with a gun, with a knife, or their own body,” Hildebrand said. “I think everybody needs to be able to do that.”
Andrea Hunt dreams of moving from Howard County, Maryland, to Texas, where she can “truly enjoy the Second Amendment”.
…Hunt, who is originally from Brazil, the right to bear arms is an essential part of the American experience – one that she fears Democratic politicians are going to take away.
“I grew up in a military regime and socialism, and the government will not protect you, they can’t,” Hunt said. “The police cannot protect you. You have to protect yourself and your family.”
The leader of Well Armed Woman’s Central Maryland chapter, Stephanie Stockman, said her favorite part of volunteering is helping women overcome their fear of guns.
“It’s incredibly empowering when you know that when you go out there that you don’t have to worry, you don’t have to be afraid,” Stockman said.
This makes the politics of gun control harder for Democrats, as one of their main groups is starting to pack heat and might worry that their anti-gun policies might leave them defenseless. It also appears that the rather weak argument that firearms don’t make women safer, therefore women shouldn’t own guns, is being outright ignored by these ladies. With more urban-based gun owners dotting that map, it’s starting to look like it’s no longer a rural vs. urban dichotomy anymore. Is that bad or good? In one area, we might lose a poignant argument that urban-based liberal elites hate rural voters, especially gun-owning rural voters, therefore torpedo any gun control attempts as it only infringes on our constitutional rights. On the other hand, we can now say that gun control is such an abject failure that more people in the liberal elite’s backyard, especially the women, are beginning to pack heat for protection and for the sake of exercising their individual right to bear arms, even in the most anti-gun states in the country, like Maryland. Anti-gunners have lost rural America on gun control. It seems the concrete liberal bastions of America’s cities might be next.
The study has an odd point of noting that the percentage of Americans owning guns settles around 22 percent, whereas Pew Research said it was 44 percent. Don't put too much stock in either of these figures, as gun owners are apt to not respond truthfully to these surveys and for a good reason too; it's none of anyone's business.
The interesting point in the Pew study concerning policy is the fact that Millennials were the generation that really weren't all that receptive to bans on so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Both measures didn't break 50 percent in the survey.