Number of West Texas women with concealed handguns has doubled since 2012

Number of West Texas women with concealed handguns has doubled since 2012
Source: KCBD Video
Source: KCBD Video

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The number of women getting their license to carry has nearly doubled in the past five years, but they're all carrying for different reasons.

"Thirty years ago I was in the Coast Guard, and then I got out of that, and went on being a wife and all that good stuff. I had brain surgery six years ago and woke up blind in my right eye and I had speech issues," Julie Waasted said.

"I was able to go and shoot in an indoor range, and I got home, and my husband looked at me and goes, what did you do today? I said I went and bought a pistol and went to the range, and I'm like, why? And he goes, keep doing it. He saw an instant reaction."

And now, after years of practice, Waasted is headed to the World Shoot in France this year.

Along with Julie Waasted, other women in the area are packing heat.

Julie Evans, an assistant at Lone Star Shooting Sports says her start to guns kicked off after, "One day we, my husband and I were talking and I said, you know, I think I would like to get my CHL. Then after he picked his jaw up off the floor, because we never really talked about guns, he said okay."

Christina Scott says she started a similar way. "I started shooting, probably about six years ago, my husband actually saw online that there was a chapter of A Girl and a Gun starting up, and so, I just latched onto that, I went to the first meeting ever, and have been here ever since."

A Girl and a Gun, an organization that has brought these three ladies together for the same reason, the love of shooting.

These women say, even over the years, their hobby continues to surprise.

Evans says the typical response she gets is, "You carry a gun!? Because typically you see a little old grey haired old lady you don't expect her to be carrying, but I found over the last four or five years there's a lot of us little old ladies carrying a gun."

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, over the past 10 years nearly 2 million people across the state have been issued their Concealed Handgun License.

But from 2008 to 2012, only 21.7 percent of those license holders were women. Fast forward five more years, from 2013 to 2017, that number has doubled. Now, over 43 percent of those individuals packing heat are women.

"I definitely think that women are taking their safety, their children's safety, their home protection, into their own hands," Scott said. "It's not just the good ol' boys sport anymore, or gentleman's sport, it's uh, now women are 10 fold getting involved."

Like anything though, you need to practice.

Brian Finlan, Range Manager at Lubbock Shooting Complex says, "You always revert back to the smallest thing you ever learned, and that's going to be the highlight of what you remember."

Even with all the classes and options, people always ask, why a gun?

Steve Burns, the Managing Co-Owner at LSG Tactical Arms says you have to be able to stop the bad guy, and Scott agrees.

"Just a couple of days ago, a good guy with a gun stopped the bad guy. That's not always going to be the case for a stun gun or pepper spray."

"If it's my life or somebody else's, the bad guy's. I want to live," Scott said. "I want to save my children, I want to protect those around me."

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