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New Face of Gun Owners

October 21, 2014

Statistics show that demographics of gun owners are changing, and that increasing numbers of women are purchasing firearms.  We went to a gun range and firearms dealer near Everett, WA to meet female gun owners (and those thinking about buying a gun) and hear from the sales people about how the market is changing.

Dana Syria: I have a lot of friends that carry.  It got me to buying my first gun and now I carry.

Feliks Banel: Why do you carry?

Syria: Protection.  I feel safe.  Yeah I like it.

Banel: Ever had to use it or pull it out?

Syria:  Nope. Thank god.

Banel: Dana Syria works at a restaurant in Snohomish County.  But on this particular day, she’s come with two friends to a gun range in south Everett, aiming to have a good time, and to get in some serious target practice.

Syria: That’s what I’m working on now is, I’m trying to work on getting better aim. So, I’m trying to learn more about my gun and how it shoots as compares to my form, what I need to fix on my form to get the right shot that I want to get.  So as you can see, my array of everything here demonstrates my accuracy.  (LAUGHING)

Felicia Sinclair: This is a Springfield XDS. It comes in both a 9 and a 45. The 9 is particularly more manageable for women, but there is the option of the higher caliber . . .

Co-owner John Holschen teaches a gun safety and instruction class at West Coast Armory North shooting range.

Banel: Felicia works at the gun shop attached to the range.  She’s a salesperson and the social media coordinator for the store, which also has locations on the Eastside.  They sell guns, and offer classes in self-defense and gun handling.  And lately, a lot of their customers are female.

Sinclair: We’re actually seeing a lot more women in the last six months come in on their own.  It happened all of a sudden. I’m not quite sure why this shift. So I get to kind of figure out what they want and let them know as a female shooter and someone who carries what I would recommend for them.

Banel: What Felicia is seeing supports the findings of a recent report by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.  More women are buying guns.

 So you’re carrying right now?

Sinclair: I am carrying.

Banel: Can we see?

Gun sales specialist Felicia Sinclair shows off her concealed weapon.

Sinclair: I’m carrying an Appendix right here.  So I don’t wear belts so we do carry a line of holsters made by Pretty Dangerous  Accessories.  She’s a former female officer. Designed these with women in mind.  They’re great.

Banel: The women we met at the gun range have various levels of experience with weapons.  Some are old hands, like Dana, who’s been shooting for four years.

What kind of gun do you have?

Dana Syria: I have a Smith & Wesson MMP Shield 9mm.

Banel: And why’d you pick that one?

Syria:  Because it’s not too big, it’s not too small.  I have larger hands so it actually fits really nice in my hand.

Luckily I got more in here and not so much out here . . .  Yeah, he helps me by being a really big target, so . . .

Products designed for women carrying concealed weapons at West Coast Armory North shooting range.

Tina: I just recently got it so I’m still getting familiar with it.  And because I’m still not quite comfortable with it I feel better if I’m training with and doing refresher courses.

Banel: Tina owns a gun, too.  And she only bought hers recently.  But she did it for the same reason that bought hers.

Why do you choose to carry a concealed weapon?

Tina: Well, I’m a Realtor, and there are inherent risks with being a realtor I meet strangers I do all the safety measures but still there’s an inherent risk and I have a son at home who counts on me to come home and I feel like it would be negligent on my part if I didn’t do everything it took to actually get home. 

Banel: But there’s more to it than just protection.

Tina: It’s exciting ‘cause it’s not something I do very often and it’s something that at first I was like, oh, I’m shooting (LAUGHS)  It’s a little bit of a thrill cause there’s some power there but at the same time there’s a tremendous amount of responsibility.



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