The number of women carrying guns is reaching record highs nationwide.

Nearly one in four woman in the United States are packing heat, an increase of 77 percent in just a few years.

Why are so many moms carrying firearms? Rachel DePompa talks to Central Virginia women to see what’s motivating them to learn to fire a weapon. Tune in for her special report tonight on 12News at 11.

The blast of a gun was the last thing 70-year-old Joan Herndon ever heard. In October of ’95, someone walked into her family store in Buckingham County, robbed and shot her.

“I used to hate guns,” said Katherine. For years, the sound of that single blast echoed in Katherine’s head. She is Joan Herndon’s granddaughter.

“They got less than $200. They shot her with a shotgun and walked out,” said Katherine.

The unsolved murder victimized the whole family. It wasn’t until Katherine met her husband that she decided to face her fear head on.

“We went out and we shot. And I felt so much stronger than I’d ever felt before,” said Katherine. “Like I didn’t have to be a victim. I didn’t have to become a statistic like my grandmother had to.”

More women than ever before are now packing heat. According to a Gallup Poll, in 2005, just 13% of women in the U.S. owned a gun. By 2011, 23% of women had a gun. That’s a 77% increase in just 7 years.

This is reflective of a sea change in gun ownership in the United States in recent years.

Much to the alarm and disgust of the anti-gun crowd, an interest in firearms ownership is growing, and what terrifies them most is that it is growing in a non-traditional manner. It is younger men and women, and entire young families, in urban areas. It is people who have heard the claims of the media that guns are “bad” instead of just tools, who have rejected those lies.

That—that rejection—is what terrifies the anti-gun media and their allies in the anti-gun Democratic Party the most.

They fear a rejection of not just their anti-gun laws, but they rest of their agenda as well.