By Danielle Kernkamp, KTEN News
TISHOMINGO, Okla. — Firearms are used more than two million times a year for personal protection. Some lawmakers want stricter gun laws; others believe in our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
Whichever side you’re on, gun sales are up, and it’s men who are buying the majority of the firearms in America. But more and more women are also buying guns and learning how to shoot.
A national non-profit organization is working to change the numbers between men and women owning guns, and they have a chapter in Texoma.
“It’s like a girls’ night out… with firearms.” That’s how Jami Hurst of The Well Armed Woman in Tishomingo describes her chapter of a national organization working to even the playing field of gun-owners.
According to the Pew Research Center, one in five women report they own a gun.
“Right now, we’re in a world that has changed,” said club member Lahoma Viness.
And this world is a little less intimidating knowing they’re carrying.
“I am able to defend myself if something does happen,” Viness said.
The Pew study says women are more likely than men to cite protection — as opposed to recreation — as the only reason they own a gun. ”
“We’re able to protect ourselves, and we’re able to protect our families,” Viness added.
Jami Hurst and Lisa Roundtree are the Tishomingo chapter leaders of the Well Armed Woman Club, which has more than 11,000 members nationwide. The main goal of this organization is to teach basic firearm safety and shooting skills to women.
“A lot of people say it’s just safety-wise, but I think it’s more preparedness,” Roundtree said.
While the Tishomingo chapter has only been around since last August, these women say they already feel more confident around a firearm. “It’s really not that scary, and it’s something that they can overcome,” Roundtree said.
Not only do these women get some target shooting in, but they have some fun while doing it. “It’s been really neat to see us all become friends,” Hurst said. “No one is here to make fun of the other person,” Roundtree said.
These club members are aware that people who oppose guns may find this concept alarming. “Not everything is everyone’s cup of tea,” Roundtree said.
“I do not carry a pistol to impose my will on someone else; I carry a pistol so no one can impose their will on me,” Hurst said, quoting rangemaster Lynn Givens.
The Well Armed Woman Club of Tishomingo meets the first Thursday of every month at the Murray State College firing range.
There are also chapters in Davis, Oklahoma, and in Dallas and Lewisville, Texas.