Among the growing population of women reportedly owning firearms lays a contingency of ladies who have turned their time at the range into recreation.
Firing ranges provide female-friendly options such as pink and attacker-themed targets. The point of adding these elements isn’t to make using a firearm any less serious, it’s to engage people in not just self-defense, but marksmanship as well.
Katie Schafer, a wife and mother got hooked on the ranged with a single one-on-one lesson.
“I shot some guns, then I came back the next day and I bought one,” which was only about one year ago. Since then Schafer has gone on to purchase more and more firearms, ammunition and firearm paraphernalia.
Schafer’s Facebook page is full of pictures highlighting her improved target shooting from each of her trips to Midwest Gun and Range. She is proud of the progress she’s made in terms of accuracy, but even prouder of the security she now feels by carrying a firearm.
Women only organizations like the Second Amendment Sisters and the Well Armed Women help cultivate a feeling of camaraderie among the growing female gun-owning community.
There are National Rifle Association (NRA) magazines, Facebook groups, websites and newsletters that spread the word on meeting locations and law changes across the country.
Schafer said she gets excited when she learned about a new type of concealed carry purse, bra or other female items being offered. Of which there are many.
In January, 2013, the Indiana state Police Firearms Division began publishing reports on the number of active firearm licenses in each county. Those numbers are then divided up between male and female owners.
According to those records, in 2012 there were 1,935 active firearm licenses registered to women in Elkhart County. That number jumped more than 25-percent in one year to 2,587 active licenses in 2013.
Over in St. Joseph County, there were 2,744 active licenses registered to women in 2012 and 3,033 in 2013.
Schafer is among the women riding the tide of gun ownership. Her motivation for finally buying a firearm was for personal protection as she travels across the country. She looked up interstate carrying laws and filed for the appropriate licensing in order to pack heat as she travels.
To obtain a firearm in Indiana there are several steps a person must take, and it’s not the fastest process.
Registration starts online and requires the submission of criminal and background information. Potential gun owners then must pay a fee depending on the type of firearm they wish to purchase, all before going to a local law enforcement agency for fingerprinting and more questioning.
“They ask you all these questions about mental health and I was just like, ‘Oh God, I don’t think I’m crazy,’” said Schafer as she jokingly recounted her first experience applying for a license.
The state firearms division makes the ultimate decision whether or not someone is eligible for a license.
“I sleep better at night, I literally sleep better at night,” Schafer explained. After learning handgun safety and practicing frequently at the firing range, Schafer felt comfortable with having guns inside her home for protection purposes.
When asked if she could shoot an intruder, Schafer replied “in a second,” if that individual was threatening her safety or the safety of her children.