NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - More black women are heading to the gun range, taking concealed carry classes and arming themselves in recent years, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center.
A 2017 study from the CPRC found the number of women in North Carolina with a concealed carry permit jumped from 21 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2017. The findings also revealed black people got permits at a rate 30 percent faster than white people from 2012-16.
"It doesn't surprise me at all," Tia Scriven, a black woman who owns a gun, said. "Recently, there have been more crazy news and events happening in the world. It's empowering to know you can protect yourself through all that."
The owner of Bullzeye Shooting Sports said he's seen an increase in women customers and now offers Ladies Night classes to meet the growing demand from his new clientele.
"Most of them are concerned with society," Charlie Lewis said. "There's a lot of bad stuff going on."
Scriven is taking the necessary steps to earn her concealed carry permit next month. She said she's been a target of verbal attacks when she's gone out with her husband and the experience played a role in her decision to carry a gun.
"Very hostile, they were saying really mean things," Scriven said, describing the incident. "I didn't feel safe in that situation and I decided from that day forward, I don't want to feel unsafe in any part of my life anymore."
According to Scriven, it's not just her skin color that sets her apart. Her gender often comes up in conversation.
"Oh, they are so weak. Oh, they may not be able to understand fully and take care of the equipment," Scriven said, remembering some of the comments she's heard.
Scriven wants to be part of the new wave of gun owners who end the stigma surrounding women and guns.
"It is something [women] should definitely think about," Scriven said, urging fellow women to get concealed carry permits. "You never know what might happen."