Family First: Surge in number of women packing heat

Family First: More women packing heat
Ellie Hooks keeps a pistol in her cell phone case. She says all women should carry weapons.
Ellie Hooks keeps a pistol in her cell phone case. She says all women should carry weapons.

MARSHALL, TX (KSLA) - There is a noticeable change at the gun range, more women have turned away from pepper spray and are now packing heat. Such is the case at Greens Guns and Range in Marshall, Texas where Michelle Havard, a mother of three, owns the place.

When we walked into Greens, Michelle was in the middle of a sales pitch to Shannon Freeman. Freeman, who had her young daughter with her, says she was hoping to purchase a gun after experiencing a home invasion some years back.

Michelle says she hears these stories all too often.

"One lady came in to purchase a handgun because she had someone kick down her door in the middle of the night," says Havard, "She lives right next to the police station and it still took them 30 minutes to respond. They just want to feel safer and provide that security for their families."

Shannon isn't the only woman packing heat, statistics show the number of female gun owners is on the rise. In the most recent Gallup poll, the percentage of women who reported household gun ownership was at a new high, registering at 43% in 2011 compared to 33% in 2009.

But, owning the gun is just the first step, learning how to use the deadly weapon takes practice. Ellie Hooks has been carrying a concealed handgun for years now, giving herself the title "gun toting great grandma." Keeping her gun in a not so obvious place, her cell phone case, Ellie says target practice at the gun range is essential to any gun owner.

"You must be prepared to empty it, the first shot is going to be the 'Wow,' but the second shot and third shot, that's going to be the stop." says Hooks.

Havard, who is a mother of three, says being a gun owner gives women a sense of empowerment.

"It gives you more confidence so when someone is banging down your door, you can confidently defend yourself and your family from whatever it is."

But like any gun owner, you should always take the proper courses needed to make sure you hit your intended target every time.

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