More women in Fresno County are buying and firing guns. Instructors at the Range Pistol Club say it’s classes are filling up with women, many aiming to protect themselves.
Ready, Aim, Fire. It’s those three words more women want to hear. “We’ve seen an increase in female shooters whether they’re coming for a concealed weapons permit or coming to shoot for the first time there's definitely been a drastic increase,” says Natalie Paulus, a Firearms Instructor with the Range Pistol Club.
Paulus is gearing up to go inside the range; she grabs her eye protection then slips on earphones. Safety first, after all that’s why most women are coming to the range. “With the decline in the economy and increase in crime, people want to protect themselves, women especially, because they are the most vulnerable to becoming a victim of a crime.”
Women are feeling safer with the safety off. Beginner firearms classes are loaded with women; Paulus says there are 3 to 4 women for every one man in many of the classes. “Have a lot who are afraid of guns, never shot before. There are some who just talk about it and shake and tremble, but by the time we're done, they really enjoy it,” says Paulus.
Jenny Santiago is at the Range Pistol Club for the first time. She came hoping to target her fear and overcome it. “Initially I felt scared but I just thought it'd be fun to try it.”
The increase in guns and gun permits is also boosting clothing sales. “There’s been a pretty good influx of women,” says 5-11 Store Director Nathan Gullian. 5-11 says the increase is expanding it’s women’s concealed carry clothing department.
Inside the range, Paulus says most women change their perspective on guns once they’ve fired a few rounds. They feel more comfortable shooting, handling and picking a gun they might want to use for personal protection.”
Christina Lusby, Reporting.