More women planning to pack heat - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

More women planning to pack heat

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PINELLAS PARK (FOX 13) -

They're packing pistols in their purses. Women are lining up at shooting ranges around the Bay Area. It's a rush to make sure that before they own that gun, they know exactly how to use it.

The proof is in the record number of Women at the Wyoming Antelope Club's January weapons permit class in Pinellas County.

"Fifty-eight percent women in this class today," John Gluck, NRA instructor.

Many have never even touched a gun.

"My, um, heart is racing right now. It's a pretty powerful weapon," said Karen Gardner, a preschool teacher who recently decided to get her permit.

The one thing all these women have in common is the need for protection.

"I'm a single parent, so I just wanted to be able to protect my family in the case of a break-in or something like that," said 28-year-old Jasamine Randle.

Moms aren't the only ones concerned. Since the Newtown school shooting, elementary school teacher Amy Ballard signed up for this class in hopes of protecting her class back at school.

"It makes me very nervous for the safety of myself and the people I work with and my children because they're very important to me and they deserve to be safe when they're at school," she explained.

And while she can't carry on school campus, she just wants to know that she would be able to handle a gun, if she was ever in a situation to use it.

"I learned that when I shot -- how to shoot under pressure -- that it was a lot harder than when I'm just standing practicing when I go to the shooting range, so I know that's something I need to work on," Amy added.

Tisha Overend is moving out to a rural area and said that's why she's getting a gun.

"It's a lot lighter to carry a gun than a cop, and where I'm gonna be living, it's gonna take a while for a cop to get there," she said..

As she was shooting, she yelled out, "I'm beatin the hell out of it!"

"I did amazingly well for never shooting a gun before and I surprised myself."

Robyn Buird says the Newtown shootings were also a reason for her to learn how to use a gun.

"With all the incidents that have happened over the past few years, that was our deciding factor."

She shot better than her husband did during the practice session. All the different women had very different opinions about gun control as well.

"I believe stricter gun laws on more assault rifles would be a little better," said Jasamine.

"Gun didn't do it; someone did it with the gun, so it's a gross misconception," argued Tisha.

Whatever their take on guns, they all took away the same thing from the class -- the training they need for a license to carry.

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