Women, guns becoming a more comfortable fit

CorrespondentMay 22, 2013 

  • FIND A GUN SAFETY COURSE

    Wake County Firearms and Education Training Center www.wakegov.com

    Sir Walter Gun Club, Creedmoor www.sirwaltergunclub.com

    Durham County Wildlife Club http://dcwc.info

    National Shooting Sports Foundation http://nssf.org/shooting/learn/

    National Rifle Association http://www.nra.org/nralocal.aspx

— Springfield Armory of Illinois ranks among the firearms manufacturers targeting women’s purchasing power. The company has sent range program coordinator Dawn Wehunt on a tour of Southeast events to talk with women about firearms.

“We talk about how to get started,” she said April 28, the end of the three-day Southern Women’s Show at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. “Now there are ladies nights at ranges. … It has become so socially acceptable among women.”

Ladies events and other instructional classes help participants learn about safe handling and about which type of firearm might be the best fit.

“If you’re interested in a firearms class, go to a dealer, take an NRA (National Rifle Association) course, then move up to concealed carry class, if you’re interested in that,” said Wehunt, who married into her very appropriate name, pronounced “we hunt.”

Classes drew the interest of Darlene Perez, 45, of Garner, who studied a display of five handguns at Wehunt’s booth.

With fiance Eric Santana, Perez said she was considering a handgun purchase, a process they have studied for four years as they gauge how to safely add a handgun for Perez to their home with a 15-year-old son with special needs.

The parents are proud that their 23-year-old son has his concealed carry permit. They want to be sure they agree on their next step.

“If we’re not 100 percent, we’re at zero,” said Santana, 45, an experienced gun owner.

Perez said she is growing more comfortable with the idea of purchasing a gun, but she is continuing to learn.

“We’re trying to hit all the professionals that we can to learn what to do,” Perez said.

That’s Wehunt’s most common advice as she makes presentations from the stage to groups and in the booth to curious individuals.

“Tons of ladies are interested,” she said. “They just don’t know how to get started.”

After taking a safety course, she advises, new gun enthusiasts should “pick it up, try it” to become comfortable handling the weapon. Gun shops and gun shows are places to find information and check out firearms.

“Every gun feels different,” Wehunt said, pointing out handguns that ranged from a 21-ounce polymer-and-steel pistol to a 38-ounce all-steel model. “Every single person is going to be different in what they like.”

Her preference is a .45-caliber, and she owns several, including one with a custom paint scheme. She is glad to share her knowledge.

“The past 10 years,” she said, “this is one of the fastest-growing markets – ladies and guns.”

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com

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