It is always exciting to me to see media catch on to the fact that we ladies are taking the firearm community by storm. One note I would add to this article is that our numbers are not growing based on fear. Sure, we want to protect ourselves, but many of us are doing it just for fun, am I right? The benefit of knowing how to defend ourselves is vital, but 90% of the reason I own a gun is for the fun of it. What are your thoughts? Hit me in the comments section below.

Get ready for new face of gun owners

By John Romano, Times Columnist

This is not a CCW class. But it is fun.

They stood side by side, staring intently at the iced tea jugs resting on the ground in front of them. The teacher. The widow. The student, the homemaker and the businesswoman.

It is a Saturday afternoon, and they are among more than two dozen people who have paid $50 to be here. To watch videos, listen to instructors and feel safer than before.

For just a few moments, it is virtually silent. And then comes an explosion of thunder as they begin raising pistols and blasting away at the doomed jugs before them.

• • •

Debra Butler, 53, was a virtual gun novice before showing up with her husband, Chuck, for the class. The Butlers own a wholesale plant nursery, and the neighborhood is suddenly seeing more transients than a few years back.

A couple of convenience stores down the street had been robbed recently, and Debra was a little uncomfortable about being in the office alone. Even though her husband has owned guns, Debra finally decided it was time for her to be able to defend herself.

“Before I got there I was pretty nervous, but I was impressed by the number of women there,” Debra said. “By the time it was done I thought, ‘I can do this.’

“It wasn’t a power trip or anything like that, it was just good knowing I had the knowledge to handle myself if anything were to happen.”

The overwhelming majority of concealed weapons permits still belong to men in Florida. In particular, middle-aged men.

But one look at the folks gathered at the Wyoming Antelope Club, and it’s probably fair to say that the demographics are changing.

So forget what you may have thought because it isn’t all rednecks and bikers. It isn’t all weekend warriors and criminals. It isn’t all machismo and ego.

The next person you run into carrying a concealed weapon may be your neighbor.

John Romano can be reached at [email protected]

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