July 31, 2006
More women are packing heat to protect themselves.
Officers say the number of females who own guns for self-defense is higher than ever. They say there are two reasons for the increase. First, more women are living alone, and second, the crime rates are higher than in years past.
Five million women nationwide are stepping up to defend themselves...but many women are afraid to use deadly force.
Officers say if you aren't prepared to pull the trigger, you shouldn't own a gun.
Yvonne Greason says her 9 mm makes her feel a little safer with all the recent crime.
"I don't think you have to live in a bad area," she says. "There's lots of crazies out there."
Last week alone there were three deadly shootings in Richmond County. That's why more women like Yvonne are taking control of their safety.
"It stays loaded," she says. "All I've got to do is flip the safety off and it's ready to go. I keep a bullet in the chamber."
The law says you can shoot to kill if you are in reasonable danger.
More women than ever want that power.
"Women are taking control of their situations and I think for the first time actually fighting back," says M. Steven Fishman, owner of Sidney's department store.
Fishman says the problem is, not all women are ready to use deadly force.
"Most people say, 'I'll get a gun, but I'm afraid to shoot someone.' That's the person I tell, 'You don't need a handgun, because they're going to shoot you with it'."
"You have to understand that any time you have a weapon, the situation or encounter you come across has now become a deadly encounter," says Sgt. Richard Roundtree of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.
Sgt. Roundtree says anyone who wants to buy a gun should spend time at a firing range getting used to the weapon.
A real situation is a little more difficult--the target is moving. Yvonne says the practice gets her ready to defend herself.
"If it comes between me and someone else, it's going to be me that survives."
All the adrenaline you may feel in a real situation can make it hard to think clearly. That's why officers say you need to practice and make sure you are willing to fire the gun before you pull it on an attacker.
It's also important to get used to the weapon.
There is a little kickback when you shoot a gun, and it is really loud. That can be surprising for some women who have never used a weapon.
A local gun club is offering a class for women coming up in September. To learn more, click here.