CONTRARY TO THE POPULAR STEREOTYPE, NOT ALL GUN OWNERS ARE MALE AND AN EVER INCREASING NUMBER ARE FEMALE, MAYBE EVEN YOUR NEIGHBORS.
The NY Times observes today something anyone involved in the shooting sports or self-defense shooting has known for years - women own guns, enjoy shooting and are coming on faster than ever.
In "Rising Voice of Gun Ownership is Female" the Times writes:
In the debate over firearms regulations, the voices of gun owners have largely been those of men. But at firing ranges across the country, a growing number of women are learning to use firearms and honing their skills.
Women’s participation in shooting sports has surged over the last decade, increasing by 51.5 percent for target shooting from 2001 to 2011, to just over 5 million women, and by 41.8 percent for hunting, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.
Gun sales to women have risen in concert. In a survey last year by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 73 percent of gun dealers said the number of female customers had gone up in 2011, as had a majority of retailers surveyed in the two previous years.
This has been observed by anyone walking into a gun store, shooting range or even gun clubs - women are shooters too. That may come as a shock to many in liberal Connecticut but even our local club has more than a few female members or spouses of members that are regular visitors to the range. Sadly, more than a couple of them can out-shoot their fellow male members.
But this was also apparent in Hartford during the Gun Violence Task Force hearings where at least 10% of the speakers in favor of gun rights were female. More importantly, some of the more impassioned testimony came from women arguing in favor of their right to bear arms.
Why are women buying guns and becoming rather proficient at their use? Reasons range from self-defense to recreation to just being able a master something that requires such a level of skill. But, at the Times reports regarding one newbie, it can be about being "in charge":
"...a small-business owner who described herself as a “virgin gun shooter,” concentrated and pulled the trigger. “It was awesome,” she said, her face flushed, after emptying the 10-round magazine. “The sense of control, of being in charge of me.” "
That is a very different from of "control" relative to that which the gun control lobby is trying to force upon all of us.
And then there is the image of the woman gun owner as mentioned by the Times:
Yet women who shoot recreationally often find themselves confronting the misconceptions of the non-gun-owning public, said Mary Stange, a professor of women’s studies and religion at Skidmore College and a co-author of “Gun Women: Firearms and Feminism in Contemporary America.”
She said that when Nancy Lanza was identified as the owner of the guns her son Adam used to kill 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December, some seemed to blame her. Ms. Lanza, who owned at least five firearms, including a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle used in the shooting, was labeled in a headline as a “gun-crazed mother” and was described in some accounts as “stockpiling an arsenal.”
“What strikes me is the way that, rather than really trying to understand what may have been going on, there is this tendency to want to latch on to conventional arguments and stereotypical images,” Professor Stange said. “There’s this idea that women are more affiliative, more peace loving, more pacifistic, which should then make women as a group gun averse.”
The emphasis above is mine showing the we all suffer from stereotypes, both those imagined as well as those applied to us.
So how many gun owners are there in the USA? Well, up to 5% of all owners seems reasonable according to this by the Times:
It is difficult to pinpoint how many gun owners in the United States are women — the federal government does not break down background checks by demographic, and most manufacturers do not release information on sales. But Peggy Tartaro, the editor of Women and Guns magazine, a nonprofit publication of the Second Amendment Foundation, said she had found estimates varying from 12 million to 17 million.
They cross the political spectrum. Professor Stange, who hunts regularly and owns several rifles and shotguns, describes herself as a liberal Democrat.
There is an element of a warning in that for elected officials who think of gun owners as being universally white, male, Republican, middle-aged and suburban/rural - gun owners can be Democrats and many are. Gov Cuomo's 15-point decline in his approval rating immediately following the passage of the SAFE ACT was not based solely on Republicans changing their views - more than a few independents and even Democrats took a dim view of SAFE and how it was passed.
As for the middle-age demographic stereotype, here are two women discussing their views on guns: "Why Young Women Want AR-15s".
And here is a link to Women & Guns.
And lastly, another article on women being the new face of gun ownership.
FINALLY, PLEASE GIVE A LISTEN TO THE TWO ATTACHED VIDEOS AS A WOMAN'S VOICE MEANS FAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC THAN THAT OF "THOMAS PAINE"