It’s no secret to those of us in the industry that gun ownership in the United States is booming… so to speak.

While fewer Americans are willing to talk to unknown pollsters over the phone about their firearms, it is well-documented that gun companies are seeing record sales, that new and expansive ranges are being built by private businesses and government alike to meet the demand for firing line spaces, and training companies are seeing courses of almost every kind of sold-out on a frequent basis.

Data continuing to pour in suggests that these new shooters aren’t the traditional while, male, rural gun owners, either.

The number of women going to gun ranges has jumped roughly 60 percent since 2001 to more than five million, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

“I work third shift and it’s just, you get that ware on your body and the little things in life that you can handle but it adds a weight onto you that you can’t keep off, but when I come in here and shoot it flows right off and I feel like I’ve restarted,” said Harknett.

For the majority of female gun owners it’s more than just a way to unwind. It means being equal because for thousands of years weapons like swords and spears required strength to operate, meaning a man usually held the power… but not so with a gun.  “Firearms only rely on chemical reactivity to provide the power to fire the weapon so women can now be equivalent to men when it comes to confronting a violent situation and succeeding,” said Leola University psychology professor David Crough.

Crough said that back in the days when we were hunter-gatherers people stayed in groups of about a hundred, making it easy to identify those who were dangerous. Now a days with bigger cities and denser populations people can be anonymous more easily, creating a greater need for defense, which he says is one of the reasons why as many as 20 million American women own guns. Businesses like Freedom Armory are starting to take advantage of this emerging demographic in the products they sell.

Perhaps one of the most interesting trends among female shooters is a rise in the number of young women—including pre-teen girls—becoming active in the shooting sports.

jules
19-y/o CMP/NRA High Power Shooter Jules takes aim with “Thor”, her 14.6 pound AR-15A2 National Match Rifle.

The last few Appleseeds I’ve attended as an instructor, I’ve actually seen more young female shooters on the firing line than young men, and while that is admittedly anecdotal and only apply to the one range over a random series of events, other instructors and firearms trainers in other disciplines are reporting a rise in women in concealed carry, defensive pistol, hunting safety, carbine classes, etc.

Shooting has historically been thought of as a pasttime for men, but it is clearly and increasingly a place where women are finding a home.

This new reality is critical to the growth of gun ownership and the expansion of gun rights. As these women join the ranks of shooters, they typically start including their families with them if they didn’t shoot already. Instead of firing lines being of fathers and sons as they were in the past, we’re seeing fathers and sons and mothers and daughters… and a need to build new ranges to accommodate them all.

This is an incredibly important development in the preservation and reapplication of our Second Amendment rights.

Once upon a time in America, gun control laws were nearly non-existent. Anti-gun Democrats spent much of the 20th century imposing these ever-more stringent gun laws, in hopes of gutting the Second Amendment or abolishing it entirely.

As more citizens get involved in shooting, the electoral power base of the gun control movement is rapidly beginning to erode. While the fight is far from over, we are not only winning the fight, but are on a long term trend that may seem the majority of the 20th Century’s draconian gun control laws wiped away entirely.

Ladies, thank you for being part of this fight.

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