Katie Pavlich shares some insight on women owning firearms, as well as her journey to firearm ownership. ~MC
The fastest growing demographic of gun owners in America is women. This shouldn’t be surprising. After all, now more than ever women are interested in being in control of their personal safety, and they’re getting involved in shooting sports for fun on the weekends. In 2001, there were approximately 3.3 million female target shooters. In 2013 that number increased by 60 percent to 5.4 million.
But why are women flocking to the gun store and the range?
According to a survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the number-one reason why women purchase their first gun is for self-defense, inside and outside of their homes. Their purchase of choice is usually a semi-automatic pistol, revolver or shotgun. They’re filling up concealed-carry classes around the country and taking advantage of women-only range courses. Women everywhere are taking responsibility for their own safety and well-being in a responsible, educated way.
As women continue to expand their influence in the gun industry, and as they become some of the best customers at shops around the country, I’ve been reflecting on my own concealed-carry and gun-ownership journey, a path that has evolved and changed over the years.
When I turned 10, my dad “gave” me my first hunting rifle; he had “Katie P.” embroidered on the strap. It still stands as one of my favorite gifts of all time. I put “gave” in quotes because he kept it locked away and safe until it was time for practice or to head out hunting somewhere on an Arizona mountain or field.
The following year I took that rifle, a 7×57 Mauser, and killed my first elk and my first deer on the same weekend. As any hunter understands, it was a humbling and extraordinary experience.
As I grew up in Arizona, hunting with my dad became a normal and much-enjoyed part of the fall and spring. I am grateful he taught me at such a young age to respect firearms, their power and their capability, rather than to be afraid of them.
When I moved away to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona, my perspective on firearms ownership expanded. As soon as I turned 21, I took a concealed-carry class and purchased my first handgun. It was a .22 Magnum revolver (today, I carry a Glock 42).
I lived off-campus in Tucson as a sophomore, junior and senior. Every other weekend someone’s house was getting broken into; the house right behind mine was robbed three times over a span of a year. Oftentimes due to summer school or my roommates being gone, I was home alone. My pistol gave me comfort; I knew that if someone broke in, I could protect myself. It also gave me comfort when I would make the long drive home to see my parents.
After graduating college I moved across the country to the Washington, D.C., area; I was a single, young professional in a big new place. I consciously chose to live in Virginia, not in the District or Maryland, in order to maintain my Second Amendment and concealed-carry rights. That being said, because the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland borders are separated only by bridges, with draconian gun-control laws on one side and freedom on the other, I have to be extremely aware of my movements throughout the day in order to obey all laws and avoid legal trouble.
Guns and firearms ownership have always been a part of my life, but as I’ve grown in my own comfort level and needs, my carrying habits and purpose for gun ownership have evolved and expanded. Everyone has their own concealed-carry story, and each woman’s path to gun ownership is unique.
As new women enter the industry and become new gun owners, they’ll have their own special stories, too.
Did you know Katie Pavlich has a column at The WON? Read her previous post here.