Terrie Gallagher, of Northern Virginia, got what might be considered an unconventional gift from her husband last Christmas, an AR-15. It's not the first gun he gave her, and both enjoy shooting at the firing range.
“It’s something that we found that we could do together that we really enjoyed,” she told the Washington Post, which reports that guns are a growing trend for women and that manufacturers and retailers are responding to the female market.
About 80 percent of gun stores surveyed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported increases in female buyers from 2011 to 2012, while a Gallup poll found that 23 percent of women owned guns in 2011, a 10 percent hike from 2005, the Post reported.
Gallagher is planning to attend the post-Christmas firing range event sponsored by She Can Shoot, a Virginia-based organization.
“I find that once they get a gun, the fever starts,” said Tina Wilson-Cohen, the founder of She Can Shoot told the Post. “They will literally get one for the range, one for walking the dog, one because it’s pink and purple. It starts. They love it.”
The reasons for the increased popularity of guns among women is a changing culture of firearms being used for personal protection instead of hunting. The gun industry is working to appeal to female customers, with colorful guns and marketing.
After Laurie Loughry, a 24-year-old in Fredericksburg, Virginia, got a blue .38 Special from her boyfriend, she even joined an organization.
“Blue is my favorite color,” Loughery told the Post. “So seeing that it was blue was really cool.”
She started shooting with the Pistol Packing Ladies, a Northern Virginia group that helps women “grow as shooters and as empowered women.”