Last Updated:August 21 @ 05:37 pm

More women choose to defend themselves

By The Decatur Daily

Whitney Wright vows to never let herself be as powerless as she felt nearly two years ago when a convicted felon came into her business and locked himself in a back office with her.

Wright was so unnerved that she was unable to form the words to tell the man, armed with a knife, fresh out of prison and smelling of alcohol, to leave the Decatur real estate and property management business she owns with her husband.

The man confided he was homeless and on drugs, and demanded money. He took off when Wright received a phone call, and was later caught and charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

The confrontation ended without violence or injury, but it made a permanent impact on the 38-year-old mother.

"After that, immediately I got a gun," Wright said. "And now, if it came down to me, my husband or child and somebody trying to hurt us, I wouldn't think twice about what I needed to do."

She keeps a .38-caliber pistol nearby at her office. The small pistol offers Wright a sense of security and confidence that she said the attacker took from her.

An increasing number of women are becoming more receptive to owning and using firearms for protection and sport. Young mothers, college co-eds and even grandmothers are taking up arms. Recent polls and statistics suggest 15 to 20 million American women own guns.

"I have men come to me all the time for advice on what kind of gun their wife, girlfriend, mother or sister should get," said Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin, the first female to hold the county's highest law enforcement position. "They want them to be safe. Women are more independent now. They're heads of households, trying to protect their kids.

"They don't have a man at their side everywhere they go. I think that's why you're seeing a surge of ladies using guns."

For four decades, gun ownership was falling -- from more than half of American households in 1973 to just more than 30 percent in 2010. But in 2011, the number spiked to its highest level (47 percent) since 1994, according to statistics compiled by the non-partisan General Social Survey.

A large segment of these new gun owners were female -- 43 percent -- up from 36 percent in one year, according to Gallup data.

The topic of firearms leapt into a renewed national conversation after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that left 20 children and six educators dead last month in Newtown, Conn. The gunman, Adam Lanza, who also killed himself and his mother, used a high-powered rifle owned by Nancy Lanza, who reportedly was a gun enthusiast.

As gun owners fear a new federal crackdown on firearms, many are stocking up, and gun dealers are selling out across the country. The U.S. could have more than 250 million guns in private circulation, according to the University of Chicago crime lab.

In Alabama, 135 of the 199 reported murders, or 68 percent, in 2010 were committed with firearms. Fifty-four percent of robberies and 27 percent of aggravated assaults involved them, according to FBI crime statistics.

Pistol permits have surged in recent weeks, Franklin said. Alabama requires handgun owners to obtain the annual permits to carry a concealed firearm.

"I don't know if it's because of the Newtown tragedy or what exactly, but we've gone from processing 20 to 30 permits a day to more than 100," Franklin said. "And yes, we're seeing a lot of women coming in to renew theirs or get their first one."

Franklin could not provide numbers of how many women have obtained permits. In recent years, gun manufacturers have tailored firearms to women, with numerous feminine designs and colors available at national retailers.

But a common mistake women and men make is buying a gun based on looks rather than how well they can handle it, said Franklin and retired Decatur policeman Frank DeButy, who offers classes on proper gun use. DeButy served 32 years on the force and was the department's firearms instructor.

"It's not unusual for ladies to gravitate toward smaller handguns, and I can understand why," DeButy said. "They think, 'Well, it fits in my purse. It will fit my hand and be easier to carry.' But what you trade in on size, you often get back in recoil."

Franklin recommends women interested in buying a firearm practice with gun models borrowed from friends or relatives.

"Go shoot, and see what you're comfortable with," she said. "Every hand is different. Every gun is different. You need to be comfortable shooting it if you're serious about using it for protection."

Another mistake is how a gun is stored, DeButy said.

"Women aren't alone in doing this, but it seems many of them simply unload their firearm, take it apart and hide it in the back of their closets, behind purses and clothes," he said. "That's not going to help you if you wake up in the middle of the night and someone is breaking into your house."

DeButy and Franklin emphasize the need for firearms to become a part of an owner's daily routine, like brushing your teeth and having coffee in the morning.

However, gun control advocates point to the 851 people who died from accidental shootings and the nearly 20,000 suicides committed with firearms in 2011.

In 2010, 129 children between the ages of 1 and 19 died in gun accidents. Another 749 committed suicide with a gun, most of which were owned by a parent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

DeButy and Franklin contend it's those who are unfamiliar with proper gun safetywho make up most of accidental shootings. Franklin recommends gun owners with children living in the home to investigate trigger locks and gun safes.

DeButy said the biggest problem with American gun policy is that there are lots of laws to regulate firearms but too many loopholes in them and not enough resources to enforce them.

"You have to have respect for it," DeButy said. "You have to be mentally prepared for the idea of shooting another human being. Many people think they can until they're in that situation. But that's a decision that has to be made long before you pick up a gun."

___

(c)2013 The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.)

Visit The Decatur Daily (Decatur, Ala.) at www.decaturdaily.com

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24 Comments

  1. whodunitComment by whodunit
    January 25, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

    I just read these stats — “1 in every 5 homes will be victimized by a violent home invasion” and “Home invasions and robberies occur every 15 seconds in the United States.” Scary. Funny, but all these gun control advocates never speak of home invasions. And most of these home invasions take place during the day, when lots of women are home with their children. Even if you have a burglar alarm, the police can’t get there in time to protect you. Women are smart to get armed and protect themselves.

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (29 votes cast)
    • BillzillaComment by Billzilla
      January 25, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

      According to news reports, it took the police twenty minutes to respond to the shooting at Newtown Elementary School. A good question is why it took so long, twenty minutes would seem like an eternity under such circumstances. But while that’s as may be; with twenty minutes to commit such a horrendous crime as the young fiend had, neither a semi-automatic rifle, nor a semi-automatic pistol with a high capacity magazine would be required. With no armed resistance, an old fashion, single action, six shooter would have sufficed.

      The NRA was correct, a trained armed staff, or police officer, would have had an excellent chance of preventing the carnage that occurred there.

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  2. odayterrenceComment by odayterrence
    January 25, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

    Ok…here’s your chance you anti-gun advocates! Let these members of the “weaker sex” know how you feel. YOU tell them your hatred of guns is more important than their defense against rape. Your hatred of guns is more important than their defense against a stalker. Your hatred of guns is more important than their defense against an abusive boyfriend or spouse. Your hatred of guns is more important than their defense against assault, robbery, or murder. Your hatred of guns is more important than them leading independent lives. Your hatred of guns is more important than their living lives free of fear. Yes, indeed…YOU tell them all of the above. Then you can read up on Obamacare…you’re going to need it!

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    Rating: 4.8/5 (28 votes cast)
    • fubar22Comment by fubar22
      January 25, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

      Who really has a “war against women”. Just asking.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (8 votes cast)
    • iwerk2hardComment by iwerk2hard
      January 25, 2013 @ 11:38 pm

      @fubar22;
      Where do you see anything about a “war against women”?
      Just asking.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
    • nmleonComment by nmleon
      January 25, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

      fubar22

      Not only a sexist war against women, a racist one too. The demographic group that would benefit the most (by far) from an increased rate of gun ownership is BLACK women.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)
    • nmleonComment by nmleon
      January 26, 2013 @ 12:02 am

      iwerk2hard

      A gun ban potentially affects women’s safety more than men. Few men are raped, few men are victims of smash and grabs, etc. Predators go after the easiest prey, and often as not that means women.

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      Rating: 4.4/5 (7 votes cast)
    • iwerk2hardComment by iwerk2hard
      January 26, 2013 @ 12:59 am

      nmleon, I agree that a ban would affect women’s safety. It would also affect elderly women and men, not to mention anyone else who is physically weaker and less proficient at fighting than their attacker. It’s actually a war on self defense, a war against victims in general. It may affect some demographic groups more than others but it will affect all potential victims, myself included. I’m too old to fight and too arthritic to run. There are plenty of women who could kick the snot of me in a matter of seconds, it would affect me more than those women, but not more than some other women and men.
      I was just wondering where fubar22 came up with the phrase with the quotation marks around it as though it was taken from the previous post.

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  3. middlegroundComment by middleground
    January 25, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

    When I was 16 I worked in a naval shipyard in a mainly Black labor crew. I asked the other 16 year old, who happened to be Black, why all the women who were also mostly Black, were lined up waiting to get into one building. His matter-of-fact reply was: “They can’t bring their pistols onto the base and they are checking them at the security office. Nobody messes with a N—- gal lessn she wanta be messed with. She just shoot you and leave you there.” At 16 I had to wonder at this gender understanding because it was so far outside my experience, but this article says to me that that this violent equilibrium situation of the 1945 Black community now affects all of America.

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  4. Allen SComment by Allen S
    January 25, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

    Too often women wait until it is too late to take gun training. I have a gun certificate in training from many years ago and value it. If I could get out I would take another class.
    Take the training ladies and be prepared.

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    • whodunitComment by whodunit
      January 25, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

      Agreed, Allen, gun training is a must for women who are not familiar with or comfortable with a firearm. There are tons of classes all around the country — better make reservations soon, since they’re very booked up these days. Also very important to learn gun safety, which is usually taught in these classes.

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (15 votes cast)
    • Lee14Comment by Lee14
      January 26, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

      Guys, the real big problem is not the guns themselves it is the people who have the guns. They are the ones who make the decisions to use them the way THEY think is neccesary. There will always be people who think it is okay to fire at random or it can be pre-meditated or they have issues, but Obama should really not ban guns. But women really need to protect themselves more. I mean my mom is trying to get one because the world is really wack these days and now one knows when the next outbreak will happen…..

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    • Lee14Comment by Lee14
      January 27, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

      I think is should be highly advised now that all this crazy things are happening all households, if there is a woman and man present they need to get trained to use a gun I know when i get my own house after or before college I will…..

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  5. thomasjeffersonComment by thomasjefferson
    January 25, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

    Worked well during Katrina when the military took your guns and the local cops raped you when they caught you alone.

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    • bzzoffComment by bzzoff
      January 25, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

      Hey Dude…

      Where you from, Mars? We had eight (8) ft. of water inside the house. No one came by here demanding the guns! They would have got them okay…bullets first…

      New Orleans is a different story. If you weren’t able to “ESCAPE”, then that was a bad situation. I SHOOT BACK.

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    • anothersonofgodComment by anothersonofgod
      January 26, 2013 @ 5:03 am

      Really? The police were raping people? I find that a little hard to believe, even in New Orleans. You would have to do more than make that claim; show some sliver of evidence other than “I heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend…”

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  6. nhpollackComment by nhpollack
    January 25, 2013 @ 10:54 pm

    Even the mostly accurate, conservative, pro gun, pro 2nd amendment articles can’t get the facts straight. Adam Lanza used four hand guns and, variously, had an AR-15 Bushmaster or 12 gauge shotgun in the trunk of his car. If the author is calling an AR-15 a high powered rifle, he/she knows nothing about guns and shouldn’t be writing about them. The ammunition for an AR-15/M-16/M-4 is
    .223 cal./5.56x45mm. and is a relatively anemic round much less powerful than a common hunting rifle and is even far outclassed by the familiar Winchester .30-30 which has been taking down every game animal on the North American continent for over 100 years.

    The advice on getting training and gun selection based on performance rather than size and appearance is good as is the information on how to store it; have it accessible and ready to use.

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    • adminComment by GOPUSA Staff
      January 26, 2013 @ 9:40 am

      From the Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection, Connecticut State Police, State of Connecticut website:

      http://www.ct.gov/despp/cwp/view.asp?Q=517284

      Seized inside the school:

      #1. Bushmaster .223 caliber– model XM15-E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round magazine

      #2. Glock 10 mm handgun

      #3. Sig-Sauer P226 9mm handgun

      Seized from suspect’s car in parking lot:

      #4. Izhmash Canta-12 12 gauge Shotgun (seized from car in parking lot)

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    • iwerk2hardComment by iwerk2hard
      January 26, 2013 @ 9:49 am

      That’s the revised story.
      MSNBC on the morning of Dec 15, before all parties coordinated their scripts:
      http://video.today.msnbc.msn.com/today/50208495#50208495

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    • adminComment by GOPUSA Staff
      January 26, 2013 @ 10:22 am

      What I posted is the official state report.

      What you linked to is 3 MSNBC reporters talking to each other. All mainstream media was reporting rumors and rumors of rumors in the first few days following the shooting. It’s what they do.

      Additionally, I can’t recall a previous instance when conservatives insisted that MSNBC and other mainstream media were reliable sources. The other rumor recounted in that video about Lanza going to the school a few days earlier also turned out to be incorrect.

      It is important that our readers see the official statement of the Connecticut state police, as well as media reports. They can decide what they believe.

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    • nhpollackComment by nhpollack
      January 26, 2013 @ 10:29 am

      Thanks GOPUSA staff and iwerk2hard. I’m sure the truth is somewhere in there.

      FWIW: A 180gr. 10mm. hollow point will do a hell of a lot more damage than a 55gr. .223 FMJ round. From what I’ve read, the 10mm. led to the development of the lower recoil, easier to manage .40 cal. round for federal agents and police.

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  7. iwerk2hardComment by iwerk2hard
    January 26, 2013 @ 12:02 am

    I see contradictions in the advice given by Mr. DeButy and Mr Franlkin.
    Storing it by taking it apart and hiding it in the back of the closet isn’t going to help if you wake up in the middle of the night and someone is breaking into your house.
    I agree with that statement.
    Then they say that you should investigate trigger locks and safes. How much good is a gun with a trigger lock on it, locked in a safe, while someone is breaking into your house? About as much good as one in the back of your closet.
    I also take exception to the statements about children and accidents.
    “DeButy and Franklin contend it’s those who are unfamiliar with proper gun safety who make up most of accidental shootings.” I agree with that statement too.
    Then they go on to recommend locks and safes. How is that going to make anyone more familiar with guns and safety? The proper thing to do is to teach and train. Education is what’s paramount here. Lock your gun away or take it apart and hide it just to feel safe because you haven’t taught your children safety and responsible gun handling?
    Take your pick, the net result is the same. Teach your spouse and children, keep YOUR gun under YOUR control and have it ready when YOU need it.
    If you have a collection or several guns that aren’t primarily for self or home defense then by all means keep them secured behind a lock, but if it’s there to protect you, keep it ready to do it’s job and keep it safe by doing your part to educate yourself and everyone else in your home. If you have small children who are too young, keep the guns out of their sight and reach but within your own reach and under your control. Children deserve protection and security too, start teaching them as early as practical for them as individuals.

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    • anothersonofgodComment by anothersonofgod
      January 26, 2013 @ 5:12 am

      Children should be taught about guns, including how to use and handle them, at about the same time as they get potty-trained. Kids who grow up with them are mush less likely to abuse them later in life; it would not be such a “big deal,” unlike if a kid that grows up, for instance, in a liberal vegetarian home where they chant “Imagine,” and when he gets his first whopper burger, he expands three three belt-sizes and buys a .223 semi-auto.
      In my country, even children without guns understand they are capable of dieing from one in the hands a liberal’s undisciplined drugged-out carnate-deficient brat.

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  8. nhpollackComment by nhpollack
    January 26, 2013 @ 10:18 am

    iwerk2hard,
    For some reason, I couldn’t rate or reply to your comment about being too old and arthritic. I too am at the point where, “the older I get, the better I was” and would like to share this:

    “My old grandpa once told me; “Son, there comes a time in every man’s life when he stops bustin’ knuckles and starts bustin’ caps and usually it’s when he becomes too old to take an *** whoopin’.”

    I don’t carry a gun to kill people.
    I carry a gun to keep from being killed.
    I don’t carry a gun to scare people.
    I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.
    I don’t carry a gun because I’m paranoid.
    I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world.
    I don’t carry a gun because I’m evil.
    I carry a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world.
    I don’t carry a gun because I hate the government.
    I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government.
    I don’t carry a gun because I’m angry.
    I carry a gun so that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.
    I don’t carry a gun because I want to shoot someone.
    I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.
    I don’t carry a gun because I’m a cowboy.
    I carry a gun because, when I die and go to heaven, I want to be a cowboy.
    I don’t carry a gun to make me feel like a man.
    I carry a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.
    I don’t carry a gun because I feel inadequate.
    I carry a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.
    I don’t carry a gun because I love it.
    I carry a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.”
    –Author unknown

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