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Gun ownership among women steadily rising

A shift in firearm purchases, and in attitude.

By Rich_Maloof Dec 20, 2012 3:13PM

According to national polls and reports on firearm retailers, gun ownership among women in the U.S. has been steadily rising. The trend is coming to light following information provided by authorities that Nancy Lanza, who was shot by her son prior to his rampage on the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, CT, owned the weapons used to kill her, 20 elementary schoolchildren, and six adults.

Photo: David Sutherland/Getty ImagesNancy Lanza has been linked to the two handguns and the semiautomatic rifle Adam Lanza took to the school, and to two additional hunting rifles.

NBC News reported in March that, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, gun-store owners have recorded a 73 percent increase in female customers in recent years (dates not specified).The number of women buying guns specifically for personal defense has climbed by more than 83 percent. 

The use of firearms for sport among women has likewise seen a substantial rise. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, female participation in target shooting rose from 3.3 million in 2001 to 5 million in 2011, a 51 percent increase. Female participation in hunting lept 42 percent from 1.8 million to nearly 2.6 million over the same period, reports the Scripps Howard News Service this week.

Related: A global view on American gun violence

A Gallup poll released in October 2011 also contained insights into women’s changing relationship with firearms. A record-high 43 percent of American women self-reported a gun in their home or somewhere on their property (compared to 52 percent of men), up 7 percent from the prior year.

Asked about ownership, 20 percent of women surveyed said a gun is owned by another household member and 23 percent said they personally own a gun (compared to 46 percent of men). Fifty-five percent of respondents reported no gun in the household.

Related: Newtown to the media: 'Enough is enough'

The subject of the poll was America’s waning support of stricter gun laws. Gallup found the number of women favoring stricter laws on the sale of firearms fell 26 percent in 10 years, from 76 percent in favor of stricter laws in 1991 to 50 percent in 2011.

Women in favor of a ban on handguns fell from 51 percent to 31 percent over the same period. The decline followed a national shift in attitude from a majority to a minority favoring gun bans and stricter laws.

Bing: Obama calls for action on gun violence now.

Photo: David Sutherland/Getty Images

More from MSN Living:
Mom of mentally ill son asks for help
Whether - and what - to tell your kids about this tragedy
How to help your kids feel safe

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Jan 16, 2013 9:58PM
When is the MSM like MSN going to get it right.  Adam Lanza DID NOT have a AR-15 rifle at the school at Sandy Hook. He used hand guns and had a shot gun in the trunk of the car. This was a tragedy of the worst type and these children are still gone no matter what type of weapon was used . But if  the MSM is going to report things in error they should correct their mistakes and not play to the mass hysteria of over reaction. My Wife of 41 years was taught  to shoot and respect weapons by her Father who was a GA GBI Agent when she was young. My Wife and myself both have CWW permits and my wife will defend herself and our home as quick as I will.
Jan 16, 2013 9:51PM
When my daughter got her driver's license, I bought her a pistol and taught her how to use it. It didn't guarantee anything but at least, I gave her a chance.
Jan 16, 2013 9:43PM
Here's the deal....I would GLADLY give up my gun if these new gun laws were passed.  "I want me to 2 B me" below is a great example of just how totally scared women are these days.  (Note to I want me to B - Honey, take a deep breath.  Nobody's attacking you.  Put the flail and the dog away.)  But you pass these law that says NOBODY can own an assault rifle (because there is not one single good reason a civilian should have an assault rifle) and pass the background checks, and control how many rounds these idiots can buy at one time and I'll give my 9mm back in a heart beat.  We own guns because we're scared and alone and men are idiots.  Take the guns away from these a*$holes and I won't have to shoot them.  The Second Amendment is dead and gone.  Welcome to the New Millenium.
Jan 16, 2013 9:29PM

Crime is just that ''crime'.   Even in a civilized world people still kill each other and have done so since Cain Killed Able. A man drives his car down a busy city sidewalk killing  many. A young boy straps on a explosive laden vest to detonate in a crowded mall.

 The mau  mau in africa kills his neighbors with a machete.  You can ban rocks,cars,explosives. But by banning guns you will disable us from self protection and make us total reliant on a government that has proved again and again it cannot provide for the individual common defense.

Jan 16, 2013 8:55PM
I am so glad you women have started to speak out.  our rights for self defense is important as well as our rights for free speech.  The Media elite seem to think you can trounce any other right as long as you do not step on theirs.  Well the joke is on them truthfully if the government is able to take one right away they can take the others, to include the 4th amendment.  I am no fan of what is going on and do not agree with a ban on any type of weapon.  I think to disarm the public is to take liberty.  Liberty will protect us and establish safety, as you all are so eloquently stating.  Kudos to you all, call your congressmen and senators letting them know your stance. have a wonderful day. 
Jan 16, 2013 8:46PM
It's alot easier to attack firearms than to address the real problem behind the attacks on unarmed people. Common factors are 1) Someone mentaly unstable 2) On mind altering medication. A firearm is an inanomate object that will lay there for 20 year and do nothing other than collect dust until a person picks it up! Then and only then depending on who picks it up will forge the outcome. I am a Firearms Instructor and proud to be one! If MS Lanza(?) were alive today she would need to face up to why she took her son showing lack of mental stability to the range and taught him about firearms! The question is . . . What was she thinking? 
Jan 16, 2013 8:42PM

Knowledge, SKills & Attitude. I am a woman and I own my own firearms training company. 80% of my business is women wanting to protect themselves. We cant stop mentally unstable people just like we cant stop drunks from getting behind the wheel. What we can do is protect ourselves and our loved ones in any situation, whether it is a firearm, keys, pen, rock. 

Look me up.


Jan 16, 2013 8:39PM
As A Career Officer I Trained Many Ladies How To Use A Gun and Not Be Afraid Of It. All of My Close Ladies are Armed And Trained Even In Areas That Wont Let Them Possess Guns. A Bit Of Advice is Keep Them Loaded And Shoot Through The Purse If Need Arises. My Mother Who Lived Alone Stopped A Rapist From Breaking Into Her Apt. By Firing One Round. (I Wished She Had Fired All Rounds-9) He Went Two Blocks Over And Raped a 92 Year Old Lady.
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