Women across the country are taking to firing ranges to hone their marksmanship skills, putting an end to the days when gun ownership was almost exclusively a male-dominated domain.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association, the number of women who participate in target shooting increased 51.5 percent from 2001 to 2011 and by nearly 42 percent in the sport of hunting, reports The New York Times
Overall, women now make up 25.8 percent of the estimated 5.1 million people who engaged in target shooting at least once in 2011, the association reports.
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The National Shooting Sports Foundation this year also reported a 73 percent rise in the number of female customers at gun shops.
While the federal government does not specifically track the number of women gun owners, Peggy Tartaro, the editor of Women and Guns magazine, published by the nonprofit Second Amendment Foundation, reports the number is somewhere between 12 million and 17 million. She said gun ownership among women increased as they began to enter traditionally male-dominated professions, such as the military and law enforcement.
Gun experts say women often acquire guns and learn to use them for different reasons than men. Tina Wilson-Cohen, a former Secret Service agent who founded She Can Shoot, a women’s shooting league with 10 chapters and 3,000 members around the country, told The Times that 90 percent of members joined because they had been a victim of a stalking, date rape or domestic violence.
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