More people than ever are now carrying guns, and some local gun ranges say one of the fastest growing groups to get a firearm, is one that you would least expect.
Sharon Mather’s typical day is spent with her husband, Bob, and their granddaughter, Allie. They quilt, garden and feed the chickens housed in her Lake County backyard.
But chicken is one adjective that won’t be used to describe the grandmother.
She is one of hundreds of grandmothers across the state that are now packing.
“Not so much for me but if I want to take my granddaughter to the park or out for a walk or anything, I felt I need something for protection,” Mather said. “What if something happened and I could not protect her? I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”
And many of the grandmothers we talked to say that’s the main reason they decided to head to the gun range.
“I need to be safe,” said Debbie Batulewick. “The world’s not safe anymore and a gun is going to make me feel that way.”
Ester Beris the facilitator of a Girl and A Gun women’s shooting league in Painesville says the majority of people enrolled in her CCW class are women over the age of 50.
Just like Ada Fry, of Painesville, who also wants to be able to protect herself and her family. She says she often travels with her family to dog shows, where they stay overnight in a motor home.
“A lot of times you are out in the middle of a field and as a safety precaution, now I can have a gun in a small safe inside the motor home just to protect us,” Fry said.
Employees at Stonewall Gun Shop and Pistol Range in Broadview Heights are also noticing the same trend.
“Basically with the violence that is escalating and you could probably parallel it, the violence and the amount of women that are becoming afraid for their lives, their safety, and the safety of their families,” Diane Donnett said.
Donnett and Chantal Freeman say what’s most important for anyone buying a gun, especially women, is that they know the proper way to handle a firearm and feel comfortable, so that they would be able to protect themselves in the event of an emergency.
And that’s something Sharon Mather wants to make sure she can do.