Every year my dad does his own Christmas shopping. Usually his gifts garner a lot of complements and consist of something pretty like jewelry. That's why I was so surprised this year when I opened my very own coffee table book entitled, Chicks with Guns. I couldn't help but smile. Where did he find this?
I tend to look at photography-heavy books from a creative standpoint so I thought it was actually pretty interesting. Each page pictures a woman or girl (yes, it includes kids) with their particular firearm of choice. It also includes a brief story of each person and what they use the gun for. Most are for competition, recreation, or occupational use. The book has found its place on our coffee table and to be honest, has been quite the conversation starter.
With all the recent gun law discussion, it's hard to imagine my life without some form of gun in it. My father, brother and husband are all avid hunters and have always owned multiple guns. Although it's not my favorite pastime, I have been known to go out occasionally with them. I view it as just another hobby among the wide world of sports. There were guns in our house when I was a kid and I'm sure they will still be around when we have kids.
Peggy Tartaro, the editor of Women and Guns magazine, said that women's interest in guns began increasing in the 1980s when women began moving into certain professions like law enforcement and the military. More and more women are learning to shoot.
My husband talked me into going with him to get a permit to carry when Iowa passed the law a few years ago. I was surprised by the amount of women who took the class. I assumed I would be the only one but ladies of all ages were in attendance.
I also experienced sitting in my first tree stand this year. After years of invitations, I finally agreed to go freeze my tail off in the early morning hours while sitting in a tree. I would be there for moral support while my husband manned his bow. Although we didn't shoot anything, I can see why people enjoy it so much. I enjoy the outdoors but there really isn't anything better than the fresh morning air as the sun is coming up. Actually seeing deer or calling them in was an added bonus. I didn't realize how close you could get to them.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association, women's participation in shooting sports has surged over the last decade. Target shooting has increased by 51.5% from 2001-2011, while the number of women hunters has increased by 41.8%.
Hunting has always been a spectator sport for me. I'm more of a target practice person myself. I enjoy walking with my dad during deer season. I also like watching our bird dog, Ember, point and kick up birds. Maybe one of these days I'll actually participate.
I think a person's comfort level with guns comes with familiarity. Although gun control debates are a big issue right now and for good reason, it's interesting to see the growing popularity and interest in guns among women. Much like the book sitting on our coffee table, there is much discussion around this topic and it doesn't look like it will let up any time soon.