The Well Armed Woman aims to educate women on firearm use
Guns, self-defense, protection and sisterhood? Doesn't seem like a likely combination, until you head to a gun range where everyone holding a firearm is a woman.
It's a fairly new organization that started in 2012, but in Pitt county a chapter of " The Well Armed Woman, LLC," started four months ago.
Pitt is a county that's had an increase in gun permits and sales. From 1,860 permits issued in 2013, to 2,064 in 2014. This year has seen 1,623 issued
Many who get permits take an eight hour course which incorporates the law and on how to use their gun. This non-profit group has a training facility to help women know how to use them.
Lois Wilson and her daughter Donna spent a day at the range and say they enjoy it.
"We shop but this is more fun to me, it's just something that's bonding," said Donna
"I got a revolver, it's a .38 special. That's what I wanted," said Lois.
Donna has used guns for years, and said it was important to her that her mother have one too.
"I just like her to be able to fire a weapon and know how to use it safely and efficiently," Donna told our Lynnette Taylor.
Kris Wynne, the chapter leader of the Downeast Greenville of the Well Armed Woman, says it's all about education.
"What we do is go that extra step and what we do, we offer that instruction that you really need," said Wynne, "A lot of people get a conceal carry permit and they're really excited about it and then their firearm goes in the drawer where it collects dust."
Wynne started the chapter in May after she wanted to find a holster outfitted for a woman's frame. That's when she came across the organization online. There are 222 chapters in 49 states.
For Carolyn Comfort, a retired Army Sergeant, she was qualified to shoot a M16 rifle up until her retirement in 1998. Three years ago she wanted to learn to use a handgun.
"I started with a revolver and now, I have 4 more," said Comfort.
Comfort learned more about her handgun in Wendell at the first T.W.A.W. chapter in North Carolina. She later became certified to teach other women.
"Some women come to us for many many reasons, some have been abused, some have been widows," said Comfort.
Abuse like that experienced by Tracy Williams from Franklinton, North Carolina. She was killed after her former boyfriend was locked up on charges he kidnapped her. Authorities say while Garry Yarborough was in jail, Williams bought a firearm and got her permit. According to published reports, Yarborough got out of jail and followed Williams. authorities say Williams got off one shot, hitting Yarborough in the leg, before her gun jammed and he fatally shot her. Wynne says they hope to help women understand what to do if a gun jams or they're faced with protecting themselves by force.
"The whole idea is you're going to make it out alive, you're going to make it out of this situation regardless, you're going to fight with your life until you make it out of this situation," said Wynne.
Lois, who now has two guns since joining the group says with their help, she's ready to protect herself, in the event she ever has to.
"I would hate for someone to come at me and me not be prepared. And think I'm a weakling," said Lois
The Well Armed Woman Group is a non profit that meets once a month. There's an annual fee of $50. Women will have access to the range for $10 plus receive class room instruction and target practice training.