Women: Making their Mark on the Debate over Gun Control (VIDEO)

It’s no secret to gun owners, especially those of us who’ve frequented public gun ranges over the years, that more and more women are embracing gun ownership.

Last year, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported on this trend, noting that women’s participation in shooting sports has skyrocketed over the last decade, with a 46 percent increase in target shooting and a 36 percent increase in hunting.

Additionally, 61 percent of firearm retailers responding to an NSSF survey said they saw an increase in female customers in their stores, providing further proof that the gun community is not only growing, but also becoming more demographically diverse.

So, why are more women buying firearms?

Well, not surprisingly, for many of the same reasons men purchase firearms: as mentioned, hunting and shooting, and – of course – to exercise their fundamental right of self-defense.

Rebecca Bieker, the owner of ‘She’s a Pistol,’ a Kansas self-defense company that caters to women, spoke with local NBC affiliate WCSH about the trend.

“We are seeing more women come in that want to protect themselves, but also protect their family and they are realizing they are just as capable of protecting themselves and a family member and their male counterpart and they are taking it upon themselves to find a method that works for them,” said Bieker.

Elaborating on this point was former Secret Service agent Tina Wilson-Cohen, who told the New York Times that 90 percent of the more than 3,000 women who’ve joined her women’s league, ‘She Can Shoot,’ did so because “they’ve been a victim at one point of their life, of stalking or date rape or domestic violence, or they have just felt so vulnerable, and they want to feel competent and like they can protect themselves.”

It’s really common sense.  Women, like men, want to feel empowered.  They want to take responsibility for their own safety.  In short, they’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

In fact, one can argue that the majority of women have always felt this way, but because of societal and cultural pressures, traditional paradigms and stereotypes, etc. women were dissuaded from purchasing their own firearms.

Thankfully, these inhibitive forces are melting away, the glass ceiling of gun ownership is all but destroyed, and nowadays women are welcomed with open arms into gun shops and shooting ranges around the country, as Peggy Tartaro, the editor of Women and Guns magazine, told the NY Times.

“Maybe 25 years ago, if you put on your power suit with your floppy bow and marched yourself into a gun club and said, ‘Where do I sign up, boys?’ you might have gotten a couple of funny looks,” Ms. Tartaro said.

“But now they might say: ‘Hey, sit down. What are you interested in? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.’ ”

This trend is also making an impact on the political front.  Increasingly, women are becoming more outspoken about their support for the Second Amendment.  Along these lines, two great videos come to mind, both of which were featured in Guns.com’s bazaar.

The first is at a town hall-type discussion at St. Louis University in which a very insightful woman talks self-defense with MSNBC’s Touré (click here to view).  The second video features Fox News’s Judge Jeanine defending her “natural” right to keep and bear arms (see below).

As the political battle over gun control in Washington continues to heat up, it’s good to know that more and more women are jumping into the fray to support gun rights, gun culture and the gun community – not necessarily because it’s important to us (male gun owners, their husbands, brothers, fathers, etc.), but because it’s deeply important to them.

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