Copy-Locked and loaded: More women pursue license to carry over past 5 years

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Empowering women is something Strecia McCaig says she's passionate about.

"I don't think anyone, man, woman, child, I don't think they should ever live in fear," said McCaig. "Especially when there's something we can do to mitigate that."

The retired Amarillo Police Sergeant specializes predominantly in training women shooters, something she's said has become more popular since she first started her business, On Target.

"I've only had this in place since December and have already seen a rise in my clientele since that time," said McCaig.

She's not the only one seeing more women at the gun range.

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According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 35,187 women were issued a handgun license application in 2012.

That number more than doubled to 82,245 in 2017.

"Everyone that has come to me has wanted it for personal protection and family protection," said McCaig. "It's, in my opinion, a sign of the times. I think there's just a lot going on in the world right now that's maybe taken some of that comfort level away from us. Because it's random, you never know when it's going to happen next."

"It does not surprise me," said Burnie Stokes, owner of Panhandle Gunslingers.

Stokes said he has also seen a rise in women pursuing their license to carry.

They've even seen more products for women fly off the shelves over the past few years.

"Some of the manufacturing of firearms are introducing different colored guns which are really more appealing to the ladies," said Stokes. "We started carrying concealed handgun purses about 20 years ago and we didn't sell that many of those and now we're seeing an increase in those."

McCaig said it's important for everyone to educate themselves before picking up a gun.

"You need to understand how it works, you need to become very familiar with it, you need to become comfortable with it, you need to become competent with it," said McCaig. "Because when a stressful situation strikes, everything changes and you're going to revert to how you were trained, and how you've practiced and what you're comfortable with."

As more women see others participating in gun training, McCaig hopes it will encourage them to learn more about firearms.

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