WJBF EXTRA: More Women Buying Guns For Self Defense - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

WJBF EXTRA: More Women Buying Guns For Self Defense

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If someone were to attack you, would you be able to defend yourself? More women are now saying "yes", but they say it's because they're buying guns to protect themselves. In fact, nearly 25 percent of women are now gun owners, and our own Barclay Bishop is about to be one of them.

"I feel like if anyone has a firearm in their house, they need to know how to use it and use it properly," said gun owner Donna Matthews.

On this cool fall day, Donna Matthews is packing heat, and she isn't alone.

"I carry mine in my purse most of the time," said gun owner Georgeann Pharris.

"I keep it at home, I do carry it in my vehicle when I go out," said gun owner Kim Jarnagin.

"My first gun was actually a rifle," said Pharris.

"The first hand gun I purchased was when I was 21," said Jarnagin.

This may look like a support group for women - and in a way, it is.

It's called "Women on Target", a class held by the National Rifle Association. A class like many others which are popping up all across the country.

"They have a preconceived notion as to what they think firearms are about. And when they come in here and they go through this instructional shooting clinic, they find out it's a lot different," said Carol Rosenqvist, a gun instructor certified by the National Rifle Association.

It's estimated that more than 20 million women are now gun owners. But why now? Why the increase compared to years past?

"I think this is a day and time when you need to be prepared for anything," answered Pharris.

"Just the way things are now a days.  You just never know who you're going to run across," answered Jarnagin.

Kim Jarnagin and some women in her church group, see it as just another day out. But instead of meeting over coffee, they're meeting over guns.  

"As a women I don't feel like I could physically protect myself," Jarnagin.

Barclay Bishop, reporting: "Guns aren't for everybody. You have a lot of responsibility with a gun."

"Correct," said Steve Meldrum, Manager of Pinetucky Gun Club. "You have a lot of responsibility with a gun, and you have to know if you're going to use it for defensive, could you use it for defensive?"

That's the first question Meldrum asks anyone who wants a gun for self defense. Including me. With eye protection on, ear plugs in, and gun in hand ... I was ready for my first lesson.

"Finger off the trigger, we don't put our finger on the trigger until we're actually ready to shoot. Your stance would be about feet shoulders width apart. You'd push the gun out, extend both of your elbows. The front post goes into the rear notch, that's what it does, they should be even across," explained Meldrum.

Locked, loaded, and ready for my first shot.

"Just squeeze the trigger slowly," said Meldrum.

"I didn't even hit the target!" said Bishop.

It seems now a days, that more gun companies are targeting women.

Pink colored rifles, pink colored ear protection, check out this bra holster! But behind the cute colors these weapons are just that. Weapons.  

"It would definitely be the last thing that I would go for," said Jarnagin.

But for Jarnagin, she had no choice when someone tried to break into her home.

"I did have it loaded, ready to go.  I was on the phone with 911," said Jarnagin.

"What would you tell somebody who is thinking about this?" asked Bishop.

"Get good sound advice from someone at a local gun store, at a local gun range, or someone that you know who has a lot of experience with firearms," replied Meldrum.

Bottom line, whether you're for or against gun use, your second amendment right, the right to bear arms, gives you the freedom to have one.  And it the fact is, more women are exercising their right to do just that.

"I'm really happy to be part of a program that teaches women how to handle guns. And I have to say this, first and foremost, safely. Because without safety, it doesn't work," said Rosenqvist.

For more information on:

Laws of purchasing a gun in the state of Georgia, click here.
Laws of purchasing a gun in the state of South Carolina, click here.
Obtaining a concealed weapons permit in your state, click here.
Attending a Women on Target® class, click here.

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