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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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159Comments
Dec 23, 2012 6:10PM
Dec 21, 2012 12:03AM
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I'm a woman and I own and carry a gun.  A carry gun is my tool, my weapon is my mind.  I have also taken many self-defense courses and would rip an attacker's throat out with my bare teeth if that's what it takes to keep me and/or my kids safe.  Before my kids were of a certain mentality (not age) I kept a flail for protection, still have it at hand, and a dog trained to bite.  It's about not being a victim. It's why the first time my ex threw a punch at me it was the last, period.  The stats in this article say I'm at greater risk because I have a gun in my home.  How many of those stats included a man holding the gun?  How many times was a woman not willing and ready to use it? How many women weren't honest about the mental state of other family members?  i.e. Adam Lanza.  I pray everyday I will never shoot anyone.  I pray no one will give me cause.  I have pulled my gun to investigate noises in my house.   I have neighbors that have had me do it for them too.  Thankfully it's never resulted in anyone getting shot, I have trained with police to not hesitate to take the shot if there's no other way.  I'll live with my choice.  I have to be right only once, maybe.  Victims have to be unmolested everyday.  Because the bad guys have a hard distinguishing me from you keeps you safer.  Police response where I live is 45 minutes.  They have told me their job is to "draw chalk outlines, not take bullets for a few 10k a year." 

"If there's one thing to say about mankind, there's nothing kind about man."

Tom Waits

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