Women seek protection through guns

July 24, 2008 8:33:23 AM PDT
A growing number of women in Cumberland County are packing heat in the wake of two different murders.The number of women getting permits and learning how to use a handgun is up.

At Jim's Gunshop and Firing Range in Fayetteville, handgun sales are up and a lot of customers are women looking to arm themselves for protection.

"It's nice to know I can protect myself if I get attacked," soldier Kendell York said.

York is among a growing number of women buying handguns and learning how to use them.

"[For] a lot of ladies, their husbands are leaving to be deployed and they are afraid for their safety and they want to learn how to use them correctly," Ted Harris of Jim's Guns and Firing Range said.

Handgun sales spiked in Cumberland County, in the weeks since Megan Touma, a pregnant Fort Bragg solider was found murdered in a Fayetteville motel room, and Holley Wimunc, an Army nurse, who was allegedly killed by her estranged husband.

Army wife Vickie Hendrix says having a handgun gives her more peace of mind.

"Just knowing that I have it there to know that if something did happen I could grab it and be safe, protect my kids," Hendrix said.

According to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office figures, over all gun permits this year are up by more than 30 percent.

The number of women getting concealed permits is up from 68 last year to more than 90 so far this year.

While gun dealers and law enforcement officials say they can't directly relate the increase in hand gun sales to a raise in domestic violence murders, many like York say it's a factor.

"It's good to have a weapon it makes you feel safe, but I also have one because it's fun to shoot," she said.

Jim's offers certification and handgun safety classes, while a lot of law enforcement agencies, give away free gun safety locks.

They say if you are going to own a hand gun, a safety lock is essential, especially if children are around.


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