Skip to main site content.
(Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
(Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)


Gun control down, sales up as U.S. women take up arms

By WITW Staff on December 26, 2015

A recently released New York Times/CBS poll that included evolving American attitudes to gun control revealed that support for a ban on assault weapons, and on gun control in general, have both decreased significantly in the past few years — and The Daily Beast argue there is a correlation with the uptake of gun ownership by women. “As the number of female gun owners has risen, so has the number of women expressing skepticism of gun control,” they write.

According to the National Sporting Goods Association’s “Annual Sports Participation Report,” the number of women who practice target shooting increased nearly 36 percent (up to 5.86 million) between 2004 and 2014, while the number of women who hunt increased 23 percent (to 3.3 million.) An NRA spokesman told The Daily Beast they had tracked a 77 percent increase between 2004 and 2011 in the number of women who own firearms.

A Pew Research Center report also showed a 9 point increase in women declaring their support for gun rights, between 2008 and 2012. Experts interviewed in the piece credit this to both celebrity endorsement and personal protection. In a recent interview with KSAZ-TV, an Arizona gun business geared towards women says recent terror attacks had inspired customers to take matters into their own hands. “We have seen probably 150 percent growth spike since the Paris shootings,” said Carrie Lightfoot of The Well Armed Woman.

Protestors throng the National Mall during the "Million Mom March" demonstration 14 May 2000 in Washington, DC.  (SHAWN THEW/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors throng the National Mall during the “Million Mom March” demonstration 14 May 2000 in Washington, DC. (SHAWN THEW/AFP/Getty Images)

While the gun control movement has been strongly driven by women leaders and supporters (such as the Million Mom March on Mother’s Day 2000), founder Donna Dees Thomases says the growth of social media makes it tougher to be a gun control activist — especially as a woman. “All women activists on this issue at some point are harassed,” she said. “They try to publish your phone number and addresses,” she said of gun control opponents. The outcome has been a lower media profile, she explained — not a loss of momentum on the issue.

Read the full story at The Daily Beast.