Headline: Handgun ownership rising among women

by Chad D. Baus

The Dayton Daily News is reporting that according to a DDN analysis of permit data, opinion polls and interviews with firearm and criminal justice experts, more women in the Miami Valley are choosing to purchase and carry handguns for protection, reflecting a national trend.

From the article:

More than one in five who have applied to carry concealed handguns in Butler, Greene, Miami, Montgomery and Warren counties are women, and owners of local gun stores and shooting ranges say women are increasingly participating in training and target practice.

Although violent crime continues to decline in the region, experts said more women are choosing to pack heat because it is becoming more culturally acceptable, and they are also worried about their safety.

"We are seeing more women and that's a good thing because they are the ones who need it," said John Thyne, principal owner of Peabody Sports in Kettering.

After citing national statistics which show an upward trend in firearms ownership overall, and according to Gallop more sharply among women (23 percent of women say they own a gun, up from 13 percent in 2005), the article continues:

Under Ohio law, concealed-carry permits are not public records, but the Dayton Daily News was able to obtain data about the number of permits issued by gender. However, not all sheriff’s offices could produce the same type of information.

In 2011, women accounted for 459 of the 2,029 new and renewal concealed-carry permits issued in Montgomery County, according to the county sheriff’s office.

The share of permits held by women increased to 22.6 percent last year from 18.4 percent in 2010. Warren County issued 349 active concealed- carry licenses to women in 2011, up from 328 in 2009, according to the Warren County Sheriff's Office.
About one in five concealed-carry permits ever issued in Greene and Miami counties were for women, according to permit data.

In 2011, about one in four concealed-carry permit applications in Butler County were from women, according to Daily News tabulations. Of the 1,623 conceal and carry permit applications in 2011, 436 were for females.

The article notes that while violent crime is down across the country, about 49 percent of the victims of violent crime are women, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey.

The article quotes several area gun stores and concealed carry instructors, who also confirmed that their clientele is trending toward an increase in female customers.

Nancy Newbauer, 64, of Butler Twp., said she obtained her concealed-carry permit in 2009. She said carrying a gun appealed to her because there is not a police officer on every corner, and women today are more independent and cannot rely on other people to defend them.

"I just don't want to become another statistic," she said. "I feel a greater sense of security since I got my concealed-carry — I feel informed, I feel safer and I feel I can defend myself."

Newbauer said economic and political uncertainty is also likely contributing to the surge in gun sales among both genders.
Like Newbauer, many women feel vulnerable to crime because they feel physically outmatched by men, said Linda Walker, Central Ohio Chair of the Buckeye Firearms Association. But Walker said possessing a gun changes the situation and gives women an advantage.

"I think women are becoming awakened to the fact that their own self-defense is in their own hands, and they can't wait for a husband, boyfriend or police officer to protect them," Walker said. "Women know that when seconds matter, police are minutes away."

Art Jipson, director of the Criminal Justice Studies program at the University of Dayton, is observed that women today also are more comfortable with firearms, and cultural shifts make it more acceptable for women to possess guns, develop shooting skills and join gun clubs.

More TV shows, movies and other forms of popular entertainment depict female protagonists as strong and capable of protecting themselves, and life in some degree is imitating art and vice versa.

"The message we are tending to see in the culture is one of empowerment, and you do not need to depend upon a family or a male in your life, whomever he is, and that you can be just as powerful," Jipson said.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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