NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – More and more women are packing heat, and the gun industry is taking aim at their new target, from tactical clothing to female only gun clubs.
What was once a man’s world is evolving.
“Every time I step out of my house, it’s like my keys, my cellphone, my gun,” Charlene Liboch The Well Armed Woman told News 2.
The nonprofit’s goal is to educate, equip and empower women to feel more comfortable around firearms and to handle them safely.
“Our goal is not to get into a gunfight; that is the last thing we want to do. What we want to do is be able to protect ourselves and find an exit. We do not want to get into a gun fight, but if it happens we want to be able to utilize our knowledge and experience,” explained chapter leader Jude Wilder Roberts.
There are 36 members in the local chapter that meets monthly at the Nashville Armory.
“You will see that a lot of the companies are starting to cater more to the women,” said Roberts.
From ladies nights to women-only permit classes, the Nashville Armory is among those taking note.
“A lot of people are shocked that we offer so many women’s classes,” Karen Becotte, an instructor at the Nashville Armory told News 2.
She said the courses usually take place in the classroom and then go to the range.
“One month it might be handguns, and they get to shoot five different calibers from semi-automatics to revolvers, as well. Another theme is our rifles, where they are going to shoot rifles, shotguns and a fully automatic and one of the other themes is what we call a scoot and shoot where they go down range and each shooter individually might get presented with a scenario and they have to either qualm the situation, or engage in the situation.”
Becotte said the women’s nights often sell out.
The Nashville Armory averages about 2,500 new visitors to their range each month.
Thirty five percent of their customers are females, which is up about 27 percent from when they opened five years ago, according to management.
“Most of the women that carry guns now are between the ages of about 40 to 60. We see them from all avenues – from nurses, stay-at-home moms to attorneys, you know it’s just ladies from all walks of life,” said Liboch.
There are 604,183 current valid Tennessee handgun carry permit holders.
Shelby County has the most with more than 66,000 and Davidson County has almost 34,000
News 2 reached out to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security to find out how many new carry permit holders there were last year and how many of those were women.
The department said it is currently working on its annual report and preferred not to give the numbers until the report was final.
The department hopes to have the report finished by the end of the month.
In 2016, nearly 35 percent of the carry permits issued in Tennessee were to women.
This past year, the Nashville Armory taught about 2,300 carry permit students at their facilities.
To promote women arming themselves, the Nashville Armory store in franklin is offering a deal for News 2 viewers.
The first 10 women to sign up for its January 26 women’s only permit class that uses the code “defendnow” will get in for free. For more information, click here.