More Women Are Giving Guns, Shooting Clubs a Shot

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The National Rifle Association, which is overwhelmingly male, has started to court this new wave of potential members with new ad campaigns that feature female shooters and lines like, "This NRA women's network is designed with you in mind." The NRA claims nearly 30 million women own guns -- a number that critics say is grossly exaggerated.

But no one is disputing that more women than ever have been flocking to gun clubs like the Sure Shots. Although none of the Sure Shots women said they have had to use their guns to defend themselves in real life, they believe in preparing for the worst-case scenario. All of them said that they feel safer having a lethal weapon nearby.

"I keep a 12-guage pump action shotgun next to my bed," said Lia Scottino. "Being a single female, I have to consider those things and have to consider how to protect myself."

"I don't carry a gun because I live in fear," Macha said. "I don't live in fear because I do carry a gun."

But gun control advocates say that feeling safer because they own a gun provides a false sense of security. A woman with a gun in her home is almost three times more likely to be killed than a woman who does not have a gun in her home, according to Laurie Saffain, who works with Women Against Gun Violence, an advocacy group that was created in the '90s in a response to what it says were "fear tactics" used in marketing guns to women.

"For every time a gun is fired in self defense, there are four accidental shootings, there are seven homicides or assaults and 11 attempted or successful suicides," Saffian said.

Saffian believes that guns don't make women any safer, but reasonable gun control laws will.

"Let's come together where we can around common sense solutions and laws that are really going to make a difference for women and are going to save their lives," she said.

But universal background checks, even a ban on high-capacity magazines, are gun control measures Holly Gaylor of the Sure Shots firmly opposes.

"Nobody has the right to tell us what's good for the next person," Gaylor said. "I don't dictate what goes best for your family and you shouldn't dictate what goes best for my family … if you want to carry a 30-round magazine then, by golly, do it."

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