ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – FBI figures show the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is running more checks than ever before. Nearly 25 million background checks will have been completed by year’s end.
By proxy, that means more guns being sold than before and local shops say their sales are getting better every year.
A key group driving sales – women.
Women are helping propel firearm background checks and gun sales to an all-time high.
Steve King, owner of Metro Shooting Supply, says it’s astonishing how fast women are getting locked and loaded.
“If I could open a new store it would cater to women and self-defense and it has been growing the past five years,” he said.
King says they have shooting lessons everyday and not only are the classes full, but women make up 80 percent of the class.
Anita Farmer, a resident of Red Bud, Illinois, recently armed herself and recommends other women do so.
“It’s relaxing, believe it or not; firing off a few rounds really does calm you when you have had stress,” she said. “Coming to the range can help.”
King doesn’t recommend every woman buy a gun. He says a woman has to be comfortable with the prospect of having to use one. He also says they must put safety first.
“The more single household families we have where women are the head of the household, you have them realizing that not only are they only the provider financially and emotionally for children, but also the physical provider as well,” King said.
Gun opponents cite studies that show women are not necessarily safer with guns. A Columbia University study says a woman’s chances of being killed by her abuser increases more than five times if he has access to the gun. A Harvard University study says a gun in the home is more likely to be used against a woman, making her three times more likely to be killed with it.
However, gun advocates point to police stats showing 200,000 women annually use a gun to defend themselves from a sexual attack.
“Defending your home and family has become (a) priority over past eight years or so,” King said.