Wisconsin has long been a gun-friendly state thanks largely to the fact that it’s a hunter’s paradise.

But gun sales in the Badger State aren’t only soaring on hunting rifles, handguns and personal protection guns are on the rise as well.

“I’ll bet you in Wisconsin, it’s probably almost 50 percent of people in the state own firearms,” said Brandon Otto, owner of the Down Range Gun Store and Range in Kaukauna, WI.

“Sometimes I have to run around and check buildings, part of the job, and sometimes it’s not safe. It’s middle of night, just going in buildings and coming out,” said Lusine Weitz, who owns a cleaning business in the Fox Valley.

Weitz, who became a new gun owner after she purchased a gun this past year, joined her local Well Armed Woman chapter at Down Range to continue her ongoing gun training.

“Having a weapon and don’t know how to safely carry it is almost wrong decision you can ever make,” explained Weitz.

“You really shouldn’t be owning a firearm using it for protection or anything if you don’t know how to operate it,” said Otto.

Kris Schmidt, co-leader of the Fox Valley chapter of the Well Armed Woman, says gun sales aren’t the only thing on the rise in her area.

“Every month we’re getting new members coming into our chapter that want to learn,” said Schmidt. “A lot of times the women come to learn because there’s a firearm in the home and they are a little bit afraid.”

Schmidt says that with programs like the NRA’s Refuse to be a Victim program, women are learning that self defense doesn’t have to start with a firearm.

“I tell everyone, the Refuse to be a Victim program is the very first building block in the foundation of your personal safety program. It teaches you to be situationally aware and gives you the mindset of training yourself to think ‘what would I do if’ in different situations. Whether you’re armed or not, the basis of your safety always depends on your awareness,” Schmidt told me this morning.