More women in El Paso County are getting their concealed carry permits than ever before. According to the sheriff’s office, in 2005, 917 women in El Paso received permits. In 2013, records reveal 8,193 women had permits. That’s a jump of 793 percent.
Local NRA instructor Germaine Adams says the surge in numbers doesn’t surprise her. She’s the founder of the Rocky Mountain Tactical Ladies Shooting Club.
"We call it a knitting club with guns, it’s kind of like what we think of ourselves,” said Adams. She taught several gun safety classes this year.
“There's been a number of women that have approached us on it because they say, 'I’m now alone. I'm alone in my house…my son's moved out…my husband passed away,' whatever the reason, they're now single women in a house. You know, they're out in the middle of Peyton, or Falcon or somewhere else. They hear strange noise in the middle of the night. Could that be a coyote? Could that be somebody trying to break in?"
In fact, many of the women 11 News spoke with said safety was a big factor for getting that permit.
"I take my little grandson with me a lot and I want to protect him," El Paso County resident Jill Freeman said.
Leslie Couch agreed.
“I was ready to get [a permit] so I could provide for my family when we're out and about. You never know, if you're getting gas, someone could try and carjack you. Anybody could rob you anywhere that you are. I'd rather be prepared,” she said.
Several women 11 News spoke with also cited politics as an incentive for applying to get their concealed carry permit. According to Adams, “You don't know what will happen if someone passes a new law. Right now, I know what the laws are. I know what I can and can't do. So, I'll go ahead and get it. It may change in four years. It may change in three years. You know, whatever the legislature does."
There was another reason many of the women in the Rocky Mountain Tactical Ladies Shooting Club said they became interested in firearms.
“It is fun. It is fun to shoot, it really is,” said Adams.
In fact, the ladies have a Facebook page and host Halloween and Christmas shooting parties.
“Actually a friend took me to the shooting range, and I got hooked,” Freeman said.
None of the women 11 News spoke with say they’ve had to use their firearms in an emergency, but say they wouldn’t hesitate to use if it became necessary.
“I hope I never have to use it. If so, I just want to be prepared,” said Freeman.