HARDEEVILLE, S.C. (WSAV) — It is officially a new year and this year a lot of people in the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry are taking up one resolution: learning how to handle a gun properly.

A lot of those people are women. 

“Interestingly enough, the classes are now running 50/50 or 60/40 female to male,” said Edward Soto, the owner of Palmetto Indoor Range. “So, we’re seeing a lot more women coming to the range, for the qualification and certification of getting a concealed carry permit.”

As far as why these trends have changed, Soto said he believes that there are many reasons why. 

“Ten years ago, we did not have that rush to get those permits, and yes there a lot of single women with children, and they’re looking for a way to defend themselves and empower themselves to be able to defend themselves and their family,” Soto said. 

With the introduction of Georgia’s new concealed carry law, Soto said many Georgians who come to his range in Hardeeville, South Carolina favor the state’s stricter gun laws, which require safety training. 

“So, we see more people from Georgia disappointed in that type of law because there’s no education for those people, male or female,” Soto said. “Walk in a store, buy a weapon, put it on your person, put it in a car with limited knowledge on how to utilize that weapon safely.” 

For women, he said safety training means more confidence in handling weapons. 

“So, the education we give here in South Carolina is essential. We also find that it empowers women, as opposed to handing them a gun they’re afraid of it they don’t know what to do with it,” said Soto. 

Soto urges anyone looking to buy a firearm to seek out safety training before making any purchases.