Rise in handgun permits issued to women in Tennessee

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By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -  More Tennessee women are getting handgun carry permits.  

According to the Tennessee Department of Public Safety, there were 32,354 permits issued to women in 2012, an increase of 55 percent since 2008 when 14,463 permits were issued.  

More women all across East Tennessee are taking extra measures to arm themselves.   Knoxville resident Ann Rasmussen is in the process of getting a handgun permit.

Until recently, Rasmussen had never touched a gun, but now, recently widowed, she's a single parent to her two children.

"I needed to do something to empower myself to feel like I was capable enough to protect them if something ever did happen," Rasmussen said.  

Rasmussen is part of the increasing number of women getting handgun permits. 

The owners of Coal Creek Armory in West Knox County say they've seen a dramatic rise in the amount of women taking handgun carry permit classes. 

The armory now offers a handgun permit and instructional classes exclusively for women. 

Coal Creek Armory offers time on the shooting range to women on Tuesdays for no charge, it's part of "Women's Day" at Coal Creek on Tuesdays.

Sandra Ticer teaches handgun carry permit and instructional classes for women at Coal Creek.

"We're seeing women actually taking their safety and security more seriously and protecting themselves, and its a big need. Having been a victim of violent crime myself, I can tell you that there is a definitely need for women being able to defend themselves," said Ticer. 

The rate of violent crime increased nationwide for the first time in two decades, according to the Department of Justice report released in 2012. 

"There is more danger out there, more crazy people doing crazy things and it just gives you peace of mind," said Knoxville resident Stella Davis.    

Others say the idea of gun ownership is more than a means of protection, and can be empowering.  

"What I was surprised to find out is how much I enjoy it. I like the sportsmanship of it," said Knoxville resident Kristi Hodas.  

The latest Tennessee Department of Safety statistics show there are 431,258 permit holders in the state. Knox County has 27,742.  

In 2012, 114,031 permits were issued across the state compared to 62,185 in 2008.


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