LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - ?
Texas Department of Public Safety Concealed Handgun License Instructors in Lubbock report more women pursuing their CHL than ever before.
This comes after the National Shooting Sports Foundation released study results on January 21 saying more than half of women surveyed said they intend to purchase at least one firearm in the next 12 months.
The report revealed that more than 42 percent of women have a concealed carry permit for their state of residence and nearly 73 percent of women reported having taken at least one training class.
Jay Temple has taught concealed handgun license courses for about seven years as the owner of Straight Shooter in Lubbock. He said the amount of women in his classes has steadily increased.
"Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time," he said, "it is always for protection."
In 2014, Temple said about 38 percent of his students were women and 62 percent were men.
"When I first started doing it, it was more along the lines of you would have a class full of men and maybe one or two women," he said. "Now, it's very rare for me to have any class that does not have at least one woman in there. A lot of times I'll have all women in a class."
Temple said more women take his courses because they are becoming more empowered and want to protect themselves.
His wife, daughter and mother-in-law all have their Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs), which he said makes them more independent than other women in the past.
"I like the feeling and the security that they can protect themselves, that I don't have to be there," Temple said. "Our society, and forever, has basically let the men take care of the women. I don't think that's necessarily the best thing in the world. I think women need to be able to take care of themselves."
Lydia Hardcastle says she received her CHL at the beginning of January 2015 for exactly that reason.
"I've always known that I wanted to do it once I turned 21," Hardcastle said. "I just feel more, I don't know, I just like feeling protected."
Hardcastle, a Texas Tech Student, said carrying a handgun makes her feel safer traveling to and from campus.
"I enjoy walking around with it, just knowing that it's there, but nobody else knows that it's there," she said. "I don't feel weird just walking from my driveway to my house...sometimes that's creepy for me. I'm a country girl. I'm not used to living in town. I'm in college, so it's nice to know that if anything were to happen that I would be able to protect myself."
Shanna Prince said carrying her handgun has become second nature since she has concealed it for four years.
"It's just like getting up and putting your jewelry on, or putting your lipstick on," she said. "You're one person in 250,000 people. Our law enforcement here is awesome, but yet again, you're still just one person and you need to defend yourself and have the opportunity to defend yourself while you're waiting for help to get there."
By carrying her Smith & Wesson 380, Price said she is putting safety first and encourages other women to do the same.
"When you are considered the weaker sex, you're easier to prey upon," she said. "Some women have actually been assaulted and fear that happening again, so with them having the concealed handgun on them they feel the empowerment of 'Okay, I've got a chance.'"
Michael Palmer, who trained Prince to use her gun, is an instructor at Lubbock CHL. He's taught for seven years and has noticed a significant increase in the number of women in his class after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
About 35 percent of Palmer's students in each class are women, who mostly tell him they want to protect themselves and their families. He said this feeling may be a result of Lubbock's recent ranking as number two most dangerous city in Texas based on 2013 crime statistics compiled by the FBI.
Lubbock Police Lieutenant Ray Mendoza is also a supporter of the increase in women CHL holders. He said if citizens carry a concealed handgun and feel safe, that is their number one goal as police officers.