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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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Dec 23, 2012 7:39PM
I like how in the picture of the female hand grabbing the gun, the primers (the circular things on the bottom) of the bullets have already been struck by the firing pin. So those rounds next to the gun are actually completely useless. Nice photojournalism--proof of severe lack of education about guns in this country.
Dec 23, 2012 7:34PM

I am a woman & being alone has lead me to think about purchasing a gun for the first time in my life. I had intented to move to alaska & the need for a way of self defense was not limited to bears, but to potential human predators that might be a source of danger. I use to feel strongly against guns, but keeping a potential rapist o burglar within a safe distance & threated by any weapon i own, called for a gun.

The number of crimes involving loss of life, rape, theft, kidnapping, torture, etc. are in the mayority of cases, crimes against women. That is why i have began to consider it.

Dec 23, 2012 7:31PM
In is much easier to blame a firearm than to look deeper into why an individual commits such a horrible crime.  Evil people do evil deeds.  Does any remember Juan Corona who murdered over 30 farm workers with a machete?  What about the Happy Land fire, where close to 100 people were killed with a can of gas and a match.  Then of course there was the people who died during 9/11 with 3 planes and several box cutters.  There is certainly a breakdown of morality in this country whether anyone will admit it or not.  As an avid shooter, collector and arms historian I am appalled at some of the video games and movies that are available depicting murder, rape , torture.  When was the last time you saw a religious movie or for that matter a movie with a character of religious faith in a positive role ? I think this issue doesn't have an easy "quick fix" such as limiting magazine capacity or  banning the sale of AR-15's to the general public.  A shooter with an "old fashioned" lever action can get off aimed shots almost as fast as with a modern AR.  
Dec 23, 2012 7:23PM
Right on women, gun up, and more men also GUN UP!  "IT IS OUR RIGHT."

Screw you DEMs, all of you non gun owners anyway, that have for 40 years or more been trying to water down or take away our 2nd Amendment Rights, screw you all!

As a widow with one child left at home I own a gun. My older son is a Marine and he made sure that I know how to properly clean and maintain the gun. He also makes me go to the firing range with him when he is home. I hunted all my life with my father as well so I have fired a handgun, a single barrel shotgun and a .22 rifle. It's sad but true that you are not always safe in your own home and I believe in responsible gun ownership for self defense. I also believe in responsible gun control as well. We need more consistent enforcement of gun control laws and more ways to ensure that people who have guns in their homes make sure that they are kept away from children and family members with mental health issues who might be a danger to themselves or others.
Dec 23, 2012 6:59PM

There's a DIRECT CORRELATION between gun-ownership and gun-violence.


It's simple - those states with the highest number of gun-owners, just so happen to have the higher rates of gun-violence. Duh.


Otherwise, if a gun is used at all, it is exponentially more likely to be used against the gun-owner, or someone associated like family, friends, neighbors, and associates, then it will be used in "self defense".


Already forgot? The guns used at Sandy Hook were owned by a woman - the mother of the perpetrator.


Other than by law-enforcement, a gun used in "self defense" is so rare it doesn't even register is some states.


Just the cold hard facts, not to be confused with "out of my cold dead hands".


Watch. In 2 hr, some guy'll come on and tell ppl it's wrong for a woman to defend themselves.  It's just good common sense, women with guns don't get raped.
Dec 23, 2012 6:56PM
Self-defense is a personal responsibility. To do anything less is irresponsible.
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