Now this is one neighborhood improvement story I’d like to see more of from coast to coast!

So far this year, the communities of Bellaire and West University, TX have seen nearly 50 residential break-ins and the reaction from residents is pretty typical. “They’re knocking on the front door and if we don’t answer they go and kick in the back door,” exclaimed a mother named Meghan, of Bellaire.

“It’s terrifying. I have two children and if anyone were to break in we would have no protection,” said Lisa Fleishman, also of Bellaire.

But these mothers are refusing to cower in fear. Instead, they decided to arm themselves for protection, then gathered a group of fellow moms from some of Houston’s most upscale neighborhoods at the Athena Gun Club to learn about gun safety and how to use a firearm for self defense.

Most of the women said they had never handled a firearm before, but were excited to learn and practice in case they run into a situation where they would need to protect themselves or their families. After target shooting, the women had a chance to reflect on how it felt to fire a gun for the first time.

“It feels really empowering and everyone is cheering each other on,” Meghan said.

“I didn’t expect to feel so much emotion doing it,” said Chanelle Sayers, of Bellaire.

“It was real empowering! It was cool. I felt like the people I see on tv!” Lisa observed, later adding, “Unfortunately, we’re in a dangerous time and I didn’t want to not be able to protect myself if I needed to.”

These women are just the latest additions to the growing demographic of female gun owners. According to the National Rifle Association, between 12 million and 17 million women across the country own guns. In Texas alone, there are about 220,000 women who have been granted a concealed carry license.

Let’s hope these women continue to lead by example to keep this trend on the rise, communities protected and families safe!