Gun owners come in all different shapes, sizes, locations, backgrounds – and the female demographic certainly encompases all of these traits.
In an NSSF study conducted in 2014 of women ages 18 to 65 who owned at least one firearm, of which more than a third were new gun owners, the data showed nearly all women (95%) had tried target shooting, and more than half (58%) had gone hunting. More than 42% of women have a concealed carry permit for their state of residence and nearly three-quarters, 73%, of women reported having taken at least one training class.
With all these women embracing their right to keep and bear arms, one photographer created a series of portraits to show how diverse and strong these glam gun owners really are.
The women were photographed by Shelly Calton for her series, Concealed, which explores the lives of Texas women who have taken to carrying guns.
Ms Calton, who was taught how to shoot as a child, said growing up in Houston was synonymous with an induction into the state’s gun culture.
‘I like to photograph where I live. The majorities are from Houston and surrounding towns,’ the 55-year-old said of her subjects. ‘They come from diverse backgrounds, each with their own individual story and personal motivations.’
She said the armed women are often unassuming and unexpected: young mothers with their babies at supermarket checkout counters, grandmothers walking their dogs, or women pulling up outside shopping centers. ‘My photographs showcase the diversity of this population,’ she said.
She added: ‘However, I found a commonality in their response to the question, “are you prepared to pull the trigger to protect yourself or your loved ones?” The answer from the women in this collection of portraits is a resounding “yes”.’
For more information on Ms Calton’s work, visit www.shelleycalton.com.