VIRGINIA

Women driving up gun sales in Virginia

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In the wake of Virginia repealing their one handgun per month law, women are driving up gun sales in the state.

The news has some doing a double take as the face of the American gun owner is shifting.

These days, you’ll find a lot more heat-packing women wielding revolvers.

Katelyn Grande, of Woodbridge, just started target shooting.

“I enjoy coming here,” she said.

The 23-year-old school teacher visited Sharpshooters Small Arms Range” in Lorton for the first time a couple of weeks ago. She’s been back three times since.

“I did a better job than I thought I would do and it makes me feel good that I could protect myself if anything was to happen,” Grande said.

Then there’s Springfield resident Pam Tesnow who’s been shooting since the 70’s.

“I have 3 children. I have 8 grandchildren,” she said.

Tesnow says firing a weapon builds strength.

“If a mature female learns how to use one of these things, it develops confidence. If you have confidence, you develop a sense of protectiveness even if you're not caring the weapon,” she said.

Mike Collins works in the shooting range’s sales department and says he’s seen a nearly 40 percent increase in female buyers, compared to last year.

“I guess it gives them a sense of empowerment,” Collins said.

Trader Jerry’s, the largest dealer at gun shows in Virginia, says its overall sales by women are up 25 percent.

Even gun manufacturers are picking up on the trend, creating pink guns, pink grips and guns sized for women’s hands.

“They are pretty cute,” Grande said.

But Karen Hemmings says you shouldn’t be fooled by appearances. A few months ago she never pictured herself holding a gun, but working in a security office requires her to be skilled in shooting.

“It’s like any skill. You have to keep it up,” she said.

There’s no typical female gun owner as they come from all walks of life – single women, moms and grandmoms.

Firearms transactions are also up in Virginia with a nearly 30 percent increase in sale from 2011. That percentage does not reflect the actual number of guns sold, but rather the number of times a registered dealer conducts a background check on a potential buyer.

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