by Rachel Lucas
Female gun ownership has risen 77% since 2005, and as of 2011, nearly one in four women in America is a gun owner.
Why are women buying guns at record-breaking rates? Overwhelmingly, it’s for self-defense. Just last week, the all-woman panel on ABC’s The View came out strongly for women to own and learn how to use guns to protect themselves and their families.
For women, and other vulnerable people, guns are the great equalizer. Since 90% of all violent crime is committed without the use of weapons, women and the handicapped are vulnerable to the exploitation of size and strength. Guns give women a fighting chance.
And a safer one too. Studies have found consistently lower injury rates among armed crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies, according to a 2013 study funded by the CDC and the National Academy of Sciences.
Additionally, guns are used defensively far more than they are used to commit crimes. The CDC study reports that in 2008, there were around 300,000 crimes involving firearms, versus anywhere between 500,000 – 3 million defensive uses of firearms in the United States. And 75 to 95% of the time a gun is used defensively, no shots are even fired. The mere presence of a gun scares most criminals away.
Oregon is one of the most beautiful places in America to live, but for women and children, it is far from the safest. Oregon is second in the nation in registered sex offenders and number two for the most sexual violence. Sadly, women in Oregon have one of the greatest needs for self protection in America.
And the need for personal protection in Oregon is growing. With many sheriff’s departments facing budget cuts, counties are grappling with serious staff reductions. Some rural counties are dramatically cutting back their police coverage, leaving citizens increasingly feeling the need to be able to protect themselves.
Women are buying guns because they make them safer. Guns give women a fighting chance to protect themselves and their families.
Rachel Lucas is the Executive Director of Safer Oregon – Oregon Crime Victims for Self Protection
UPDATE: The original version of this article quoted a Feb 2013 Townhall article that stated 23% of gun owners were women. This article now reflects the October 2011 Gallup survey that found that 23% of women are gun owners.