Why more American women are packing heat

Gayle Trotter
Gayle Trotter: “Guns make women safer… the great equalizer.“
Photo credit Political Shake
The eyes peering through the sights of a gun are increasingly lined with mascara and belong to a woman — and for very practical reasons.

People generally think of gun ownership as “a guy thing,” and with the exception of the occasional Annie Oakley, that’s the way it pretty much stayed — until recently.

We got a taste of that switch a few weeks ago, when lawyer and gun advocate Gayle Trotter testified before a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control.

Guns make women safer. Most violent offenders actually do not use firearms, which makes guns the great equalizer,” Trotter said, according to the committee transcript.

Trotter wasn’t talking about 22-caliber revolvers, either. She was advocating semi-automatic assault weapons, with high-capacity magazines. When she said “equalizer,” she wasn’t kidding.

Her testimony helps explain the upsurge in gun ownership among women: Men typically purchase firearms for sport; women are buying them for personal protection.

“American women who pack heat – or at least keep a pistol in the nightstand drawer – are often Exhibit A in the case for broad access to firearms for personal protection,” The Christian Science Monitor’s Allison Terry wrote. She notes:

But it would appear that as women themselves do the calculus, a small but growing share is coming down on the side of having a gun. The gun-gravitation is not drastic: 15 percent of women in the US own guns. That, however, is up from 12 percent as recently as 2007, according to a Gallup poll released earlier this month.

Julie Warren, a consultant in Colorado Springs, Colo., keeps a handgun in her house for safety and recreation. After serving in the Air Force, she doesn’t think twice about having it.

“There is peace of mind,” Warren said, “knowing that you have something you can do to overpower anyone coming through the door.”

Read more at The Christian Science Monitor.

Tampa Bay Fox Channel 13 ran a report on the “chicks with guns” phenomenon.

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