Florida is on track to be the first state to have more than a million concealed license holders by the fall, and many of those new gun owners will be females.
At a shooting range in Wakulla County, Wednesday was Woman's Wednesday. Many of the women who attended said they were getting their weapons permits to help defend themselves.
"It’s to protect myself, learn to shoot it properly, the right way, and be safe," Shalia Chinnery said. "The gun has a lot of kick, so I’m trying to get used to steadying my hand."
More than three years ago, Sunday school teacher Cheryl Dunlap was brutally killed in Wakulla County, and since then, more than 1,500 people have come to the gun range for a concealed weapons permit. The fee for a first-time concealed weapons license in Florida is $112.
Cathy Watson, who is also a first-time user, says what she and everyone using the range has in common is the desire to protect themselves.
“Things are just getting bad, and you just never know if you might end up having to use it," Watson said.
This particular range is owned and operated by the local sheriff.
“It’s the county’s range, and the citizens of the county should be able to use it," Lt. Fred Nichols said.
Only half the range was in use by the women this Wednesday, but by the weekend it will be full.