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If I see another one of those “Women are buying guns!” stories in the mainstream media I’m going to scream like a little girl. Yes, I’m in touch with my feminine side. And it’s in touch with a Benelli M2. I don’t think you need a bloodstream filled with testosterone to want to play with things that go BOOM and/or keep and bear arms (or “guns” as the formerly low-T Justin Beiber likes to call them). If anything, women have more of a need to carry concealed then men, what with their relatively diminutive size and the threat of an uninvited impregnation attempt. I suspect that there’s no one reason women shun guns. But if I had to choose one factor . . .

I’d say it’s cultural. Once a group is denied or turns its back on guns—be they women, African-Americans or Jews—they “get used to it.” Widespread ignorance means that owning a gun becomes easier than not owning one. Not to coin a phrase, all Jews is local. If you don’t know someone who shoots, or a lot of someones, firearms simply aren’t on your radar.

Bottom line: the above stats are from Michigan. Eighty thousand licenses in a state with roughly 10 million inhabitants indicates a non-gun culture. I bet the percentages are a LOT higher in Georgia, with a higher percentage of female licensees as well.

Still, what’s the issue here? Why aren’t there more women gun owners?

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  1. Sorry to be picky… “Widespread ignorance means that owning a gun becomes easier than owning one.” Shouldn’t there be a ‘not’ in there somewhere?

  2. The question reminds me of a great, great old joke:

    Q. Why don’t women watch the Three Stooges?
    A. Because they’re not funny.

    • You scream at me that all I want to do is argue.

      Now you’re here just trying to snark around.

      Pot. Kettle. Black.

    • I don’t recall screaming at anyone. I have no objections to disagreement. I disagree with lots of people about a number of things. I was referring to the practice of constantly changing the argument in order to prolong it. I don’t feel I was doing that here. I’m only offering, in an amusing way, an opposing point of view, namely: who says all women should WANT to own firearms? Is that a warranted assumption?

      Besides, the post to which you refer involves a misunderstanding on your part, though it’s entirely not your fault. I was replying to another poster, not to you. His posts were later removed by the host as objectionable, leaving my remarks trailing directly after yours as if I were speaking to you in that instance. I wasn’t. If you want to blame someone for that, blame RF.

      • apparently disagreement is your hobby if you spend precious free time hanging around a gun blog to disagree with post’s 99.5% of the time.

  3. Okay, I see two different issues here, if I am understanding you correctly. If not, feel free to set me straight. The graph shows the proportion of concealed carry permits issued in Michigan, correct? Yet the question you asked is, “Why aren’t there more women gun owners?” They don’t necessarily correlate. I own a gun. I bought it myself. I don’t have a concealed carry permit (yet).

    I think it’s hard to get a handle on the number of women shooters out there. I suspect there are quite a few who are shooting guns purchased by their husbands (either the husband purchased the gun for himself and the woman shoots it, or the husband purchased it specifically for her). So the stats are going to be skewed right from the get-go. And there may be plenty of women out there like me who own guns but don’t have concealed carry permits, possibly because they a) haven’t had time to get one or b) work in places (like schools) that make concealed carry difficult if not impossible, or c) don’t feel the need to have one. (All of those apply to me at the moment, BTW.)

    I think the dots you’re trying to connect just may not be connectable. However, I DO think this statement is completely true: “If you donโ€™t know someone who shoots, or a lot of someones, firearms simply arenโ€™t on your radar.” I probably wouldn’t own a gun if it weren’t for my husband introducing me to shooting sports.

    I appreciate your advocacy on behalf of women shooters, but I am not sure that these kinds of stats are going to give an accurate picture of how many women own guns.

    And just as a personal note, while you’re screaming about having to see another “Women are buying guns!” story in the mainstream media, I am cringing at all the ads for firearms featuring scantily clad, large-breasted women. Clearly both sides have some work to do.

    • “all the ads for firearms featuring scantily clad, large-breasted women”
      Link please?

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

    • Very well said.

      I think you’re right that more men purchase guns and then put them into women’s hands. I think the reason behind this is that the people in gun shops is predominantly men. It’s a men’s world kind of thing. Most of the time that I see a woman in a gun shop, she’s been accompanied and ushered around by a man.

      I don’t know how – or even *if* – this mindset will ever be changed. Maybe if we didn’t live in such a sexually stereotypically based society, and more people just treated each other *as* people (as opposed to man/woman sir/madam), then the idea of walking into a gun shop will be as natural to a woman looking for self-defense as it is for her to walk into a beauty salon.

      • Hey Rebecca! MikeB left you a special message under “5 y/o shoots 4 y/o.” I translated it for you, a few lines down from him. And my range has two special “ladies nights” a week.

      • I don’t want to sound rude or offensive, but most of the time that I see a woman, sheโ€™s been accompanied and ushered around by a man. Well, maybe except clothing stores. And maybe jewelry ones too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Dunno about beauty salons, never been in or near. My mug far from being “beautifiable”. ๐Ÿ˜€

        I’d like to give some thoughts on local situation, but since we have different set of laws, I don’t think it will be representative.

        Anyway, I suppose that several prejudices in “other side” camp can be easily overcome (though I have not intentions to compete with Kathy Jackson, she still knows better :)). Guns are complicated? Don’t know, reading washing machine manual was far more challenging, than learning gun manual. Even to German guns. You know Germans – “why make it simple when we can make it complicated!ยป Guns are scary? No shit, that women torture machine for hair removal, known as epilator is scary. Guns are heavy? Well, I helped my several girl “friends” (separated intentionally) to carry their bags, what could I say โ€“ some of my army stuff weighted less.

        So I don’t think it’s sexually stereotypically based society, it is probably just wrong biased society.
        And still, I refuse wearing pantyhose, skirt and high heels!

  4. Why do girls play with barbie and why are they underrepresented in engineering and mathematics?

    (socialization since birth according to stereotypical gender roles.)


  5. Well, if you’re blessed with a wonderful wife like mine, they buy firearms for their husbands. And, if the wife is looking to save a few bucks, they take their husband to the gun shop to fill out the appropriate paperwork so there are no transfer fees involved.

    Yes, I’m bragging.

  6. Because they suppose they don’t need them? But who am I to judge, I don’t live in US anyway.

  7. Robert:

    I think your final statement should read that maybe Michigan has no handgun culture. It certainly has a hunting culture. There are a lot of people who only own long guns and don’t feel they need a handgun especially if they are bird hunters with a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun that can be used for home defense. A good friend and former active duty marine has a dozen firearms and none of them are hand guns. He kind of sneers at me and my wife for packing.

    Women from farm country are quite comfortable around firearms whether they shoot or not. My wife is from Northern Wisconsin and my best (woman) friend grew up on a horse farm in PA. Both are better with a pistol than I am.

    • I grew up in Michigan. My father had shotguns, and I believe a .22 rifle. No handguns, though, that I remember seeing. He *might* have still had his .45 from when he was in the Army, or something of his dad’s, but I don’t recall for sure. It was never really brought out and talked about, let alone shoot it. The shotguns, though, went out during hunting season. He liked to hunt pheasant and squirrel.

      But handguns? You’re right: not a culture for it in Michigan.

  8. I imagine it’s for the same reason more women don’t buy power tools or motorcycles. Women aren’t socialized into those thing at nearly the same the rate as men.

    When boys are young, we buy them toy guns, toy tools, and BMX bicycles. When girls are young, we buy them toy kitchens, toy children, and dress-up dolls. As a result boys grow up to buy real guns, real tools, and motorcycles and girls grow up to buy expensive housewares, baby clothes, and fashion apparel.

  9. The women that I’ve taken shooting have loved it, but that doesn’t man they’re going to buy guns. It’s just more of a guy thing. I mean, women do it, for sure, but guys own it.

    • Now, now, Ralph. Momma Cujo owns two .38’s, a .357, a double bbl 20 ga, a 16 ga, a 30-30 and a .303.

  10. Florida and Texas both show roughly the same Male/Female (80%/20%) breakdown so I’d say Michigan is consistent with other parts of the country.

    The big story missed is the age demographics. 50ish people tend to get the highest percentage of licenses. As the boomer age, we can expect the numbers of licenses to increase as well. Its a very positive trend for carrying.

  11. I also think a lot of it has to do with the fact that women have a different perception of personal danger than men. I think this has to do with a lot of things, from gender roles in society to testosterone levels and physical strength. Womens’ attitudes looking at something like pumping their gas in the middle of the night are usually vastly different from mens’. A guy is more likely to pump his gas on his own in the middle of the night than a woman. His mindset would be one of vigilance and being ready to fight whereas a lot of women would just avoid the situation altogether if possible.

    I think because of this men are more likely to see a gun as necessary than a woman from a self-defense standpoint. A man would see it as an extra tool to aid in such situations whereas a woman might focus more on just avoiding those types of situations altogether.

    I’m not saying it’s right or wrong or whatever…it’s just what has come to mind from what I’ve seen in my travels.

  12. Here in rural Alaska, our church has been known to have shooting events. The church ladies also plan range days. Many EDC and all are good to excellent shots.

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