LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Two big reasons why more and more women say they're becoming gun owners across the country: protecting themselves and their families.
Many women at the SHOT show, taking place in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo Center, wore teal in support of the Second Amendment as they're part of an increasing number exercising their right to bear arms.
"We see the majority of women coming in because they want to be able to protect themselves," Dianna Muller, founder of The DC Project, said.
The DC Project is a nonpartisan group that seeks to protect gun rights.
Muller says many women want to defend themselves, especially in light of the news of shootings like the one at the Fashion Show Mall Tuesday that injured three people.
"Our world is becoming increasingly violent, and it's important for us to be able to protect ourselves, and a firearm is a great equalizer," Muller said.
A Pew Research Center report in 2017 showed one in five women own a firearm, with 71 percent of them saying protection was a significant reason why they got one.
About 27 percent said they got one solely for protection, compared to just 8 percent for men.
A gun owner told 13 Action News that a gun gives women peace of mind.
"It's very empowering to go shoot for fun. It's something we don't talk about as much. Shooting is empowering for fun," Lara Smith, national spokeswoman for the Liberal Gun Club, said.
Many women do take up sports shooting after initially getting their first firearm.
"What we find is once they start shooting, they become recreational shooters, and we're excited because shooting is a fun sport. So, not only can you defend yourself if you needed, but you can also go to the range and have a lot of fun," Karen Butler, president of Shoot Like a Girl organization, said.
No matter the reason, gun owners say they're exercising their rights.
"Women are very interested in being safe, and so they're getting the training and education that they need so that God forbid if they had to, they're able to defend themselves," Butler said.
The organization will have a weekend event for women interested in firearms at the Bass Pro Shop in Las Vegas.