The relationship between women and guns is not a hollow point

Political dialogue on women and guns is ammunition in the gun control debate.

There is some perception that women have a hard time socially entering the world of shooting and hunting sports. Furthermore, there is debate in a similar vein that twists and turns the legitimacy of increasing demographics of female gun owners.

Instead of turning the number of female firearms owners into a cog in the political machine, the industry should be celebrating the social progress of women commanding their own space in gun ownership and toppling the walls of a social construct — men own guns, women are afraid of them.

Women and guns are not mutually exclusive

Media reports are increasingly focusing on the dynamic relationship between women and guns.

Gun ownership is shifting, according to reports showing that the amount of women gun owners are on the rise. The sentiment tends to focus on independence, self-empowerment and self-defense.

A report from Houston included anecdotal evidence from a firearms instructor stating there is an increase in women trafficking gun ranges and that it is caused by social media and social clubs.

One woman, a new handgun owner, told a KHOU reporter in Houston why she shoots.

“I just feel that it’s kind of something that’s necessary to protect myself for whatever the circumstances are. It’s also something fun I do with my girlfriends,” she said. “You can’t always necessarily rely on having a man around. If you have your handgun around, you’re protected.”

According to the New York Times, the stringent belief in the Second Amendment shared between men and women gun owners differs in that women learn to shoot not only for a hobby or self-defense, but as an extension of independence and personal power.

Women own firearms for a large spectrum of reasons, but the arguments over the reported demographics belabor numbers over social progress.

Gun control critics on the left and right square off over demographics of women and guns

The number of women and guns is a strangely contested issue.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the American firearm industry’s trade association, published a report indicating an increase from 10 percent of hunters being female in 2001 to 19 percent in 2013. There was an 85 percent increase in the number of women hunters from 1.8 million to 3.3 million and an increase of 2.1 million women target shooters in 2013.

The NSSF also reported a 15 percent increase in female gun buyers from 2010 to 2013. Their report was based on surveys within the industry.

USA Today reported a two percent increase in female hunters from 2011 to 2014 and a 42.6 percent increase in women with gun permits (86,617 to 123,536) in Indiana from 2012 to 2014.

There are conflicting reports on whether or not there is a rise in female gun ownership. According to The Trace, a collection of journalists covering guns, the rise in female gun ownership over the past few years is a calculation taken out of context and the current number of female gun owners is actually indicative of a just slightly fluctuating average over the course of more than 30 years.

The Trace, a biased news agency funded by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, used information from the General Social Survey. The NSSF stated the GSS chronically undercounts the number of gun owners due to methodological limitations.

The NSSF said the cited GSS survey contradicts Gallup polls, FBI background checks and NSSF national surveys.

Focus less on politics and demographics and more on safe, legal practice

At the end of the day, the topic of women and guns should steer not toward gun control politics, but rather toward social progress, safe practice and legal gun ownership.

Female gun owners looking to bolster their independence and self-empowerment should do so safely with the appropriate gear. Strong steel core belts like Bigfoot Gun Belts provide a solid base to secure an inside or outside the waistband holster.

Shooting drills on the Bigfoot Gun Belts blog provide techniques to practice on the gun range. Additionally, gun safes are great tools to keep the gun owner and their family safe.

Regardless of gun control politics and arguments about demographics, gender equality is on the rise in the world of shooting sports, which means safety, respecting others and abiding by the law should be the primary concerns.