PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A little mother-daughter time on a sunny Tuesday.
Maggie and Molly are meeting up with a group of gals — at the shooting range, for a firearms course run by Pittsburgh-based INPAX.
“There are four fundamentals of defensive handgun,” an instructor said to a group of women learining to shoot.
Training facilities across the region report an upsurge in the number of female students — among this group, moms, consultants, brokers, co-eds and others.
“You’re mom and daughter, you’re not going shopping, or to yoga, you’re going to shoot guns, what’s the reaction?” KDKA’s Kym Gable asked.
“They’re not at all surprised,” Mary Morrow and Maggie Miller said. “The people who know us don’t find it at all surprising. She’s my role model, my best friend and doing this has been fun.”
“She would be one of the main reasons I’d use a gun,” Morrow said.
“It’s true,” Miller said. “It’s very true.”
They’re learning critical tactics.
But also breaking down stereotypes and bolstering confidence.
“It’s overcoming something,” said Tracy Maalouf, a physician’s assistant and INPAX student. “Fear, you know women don’t touch guns. Only guys touch guns, so to get to that point where you’re not afraid of the gun.”
“Well, I carry concealed, so just knowing I can draw that gun if I need to and use it accurately and correctly,” said Joanne Herd, an administrative assistant.
“You know, it’s nice to know there’s other women who take the safety of their family as serious as I do,” said Sheri Teoli.
And it’s not just growing in popularity here in Pittsburgh, but across the region. The National Shooting Sports foundation says gun sales to women have grown nearly 73 percent in recent years.
Research shows tragic events often contribute to that, like the elementary school massacre in Newtown Connecticut.
“I think that the Sandy Hook event is what spurred a lot of this current trend,” said Sam Rosenberg with the INPAX Academy of Personal Protection. “We’ve seen such an increase in the desire and demand for security training for everyone, but a lot of women in particular.”
Sheri is so invested that she’s training to be an instructor.
“I think it’s important to be able to do it as a woman to make other women feel comfortable that they can come out and do this,” she said.
“The days of a woman being dependent on a man for protection is long gone,” Rosenberg said.