The New American published an article last August citing the latest report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) showing that nearly two million Americans obtained their concealed-carry permits in 2016, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. The article observed that most of the growth in gun ownership is taking place among women and minorities, partly because of concerns about personal safety.
The article quoted John Lott, the founder of CPRC and its chief researcher, who said, “It’s pretty much the most vulnerable people in our society who benefit the most from having the option to be able to go and protect themselves.”
A March 4 article in the Virginian-Pilot noted the increase in gun ownership among women, citing figures from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) stating that gun ownership among women has risen 77 percent since 2005.
The newspaper interviewed Glenda Craddock, who with her husband, Jeff, owns three pawn and gun shops in South Hampton Roads, Virginia. Craddock and one of her managers, Amy May, spoke to a writer from the Virginian-Pilot while the two woman were practicing their shooting skills at a range on a farm that the Craddocks own.
“We cater to everybody,” Craddock said. “Women, I think, get a sense of accomplishment and a skill level they didn’t used to have. There is a sense of invincibility in a way.”
“I won my first competition a few weeks ago,” May told the reporter. “And shooting is extremely empowering. It’s a good feeling to know that I can protect myself if I have to.”
The Virginian-Pilot writer also interviewed Kim Thumel, president of the new Virginia Beach chapter of The Well Armed Woman, a national organization that has hundreds of chapters. Thumel was pleasantly surprised when 24 women showed up for the first meeting.
“I really didn't know what to expect,” said Thumel, who became a gun-safety instructor nine years ago.
“We had women who had been carjacked, robbed or raped and others who were just scared of what’s going on in the world. We had others that just wanted to learn more and get better at shooting. It turned into a beautiful thing for women to do together, a fellowship where they could share their experiences and bond."
The Utah-based Daily Herald ran a story on March 4 about Debby Jackson, a woman in American Fork, Utah. In 2017, Jackson started attending meetings for the Utah County chapter of The Well Armed Woman, and eventually became a co-leader of the group.
In 2018, Jackson obtained her NRA instructor certification, USCCA certification, Utah CFP instructor certification, became a federal firearms licensee, and started Smoking Guns Firearm Training.
“I’m not advocating that we go around with guns all the time, but I think there is evil in the world and I don’t think we can depend on the government,” Jackson told the Daily Herald. “We need to protect ourselves and our families and that is a big thing with me, to be a self-protector.”