Young women are emerging as the new face of gun ownership in the U.S., with a new survey indicating young females are taking up arms now more than ever, comprising one out of every five shooters in the country.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation report, released this month, indicates women between the ages of 18 and 34 are purchasing guns at a drastically higher rate, causing analysts to take note of a shift in America’s gun culture.
“The landscape of target shooters has shifted,” National Shooting Sports Foundation Director of Research and Analysis Jim Curcuruto said in a statement. “This is data that everyone doing business in our industry should be aware of.”
Based on statistics compiled from 2008 to 2012, 37 percent of new shooters — new gun owners — have been young women. The cause of this rise is largely the subject of speculation, although Second Amendment advocates claim it has something to due with the desire for self-protection. It’s also in line with a movement to exercise Second Amendment rights, particularly in the face of advocacy for enhanced gun safety rights promoted by President Barack Obama.
“As women, we don’t have the strength of a man. I’m a professional in the fashion industry, and I take the train to the city every weekday. I get home late some nights. Anything can happen, and mace can only get you so far,” a 32-year-old woman identified as Ileana told Truthout in March.
The trend seen among young women is one reflected in the younger population, in general. During the surveyed time period, men and women under the age of 34 represented the largest growing demographic of gun owners, representing 66 percent of all new shooters.
As noted in the report, areas of gun owner growth are also shifting, with more metro residents opting to purchase and actively participate in shooting sports. Of those considered to be new shooters over the last five years, 47 percent live in urban or suburban areas.
“While mentoring by family members in a generally rural setting is the traditional pathway for newcomers to participating in target shooting and hunting, the research shows that new shooters today include many who did not follow or have access to the traditional pathway,” Mark Damian Duda, Executive Director of Response Management said in a National Shooting Sports Foundation Director post.
The new urabn, female gun-owning population is opening up a new market, as retailers take notice and design products specifically tailored for the new gun demographic. The company FlashBang has introduced a line of undergarments, including bras, designed for women to conceal weapons.
“Females are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the firearms industry and those companies and firing ranges that are thinking out of the box to accommodate and entice these women, definitely have the right idea,” Atticus James wrote in 2012 on AmmoLand.