More Women Seeking Concealed Weapons Permits

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Applications for concealed weapons permits rose about 9 percent last year in Washoe County, and an increasing number of those are sought by women, authorities said.

Last year, there were 956 applications for permits, up from 874 in 2002.

To receive a concealed weapons permit, applicants must complete a firearms training course.

Reno-area gun safety experts say female participants in gun training classes increase every year.

Kelly Connolly, a National Rifle Association instructor, training counselor and tactical range master who conducts a free three-hour gun safety course, said women comprise about 30 percent of every class and more enroll every year.

"I think women are realizing there are more situations that, when you call the police, the event has already happened," Connolly, who is also an elementary school teacher, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

"We see more women do it after something has happened to them," she said.

Women like Ronda Clarke, who was kidnapped from Washington state 15 years ago.

Clarke thought she was spending a quiet evening at a friends house. But when her friend suddenly slapped handcuffs on her wrists, pushed a shotgun into her back and drove her through multiple states against her will over four days, she realized she was a crime victim.

On Saturday, the 53-year-old Reno woman took a gun safety course.

"It's taken me a long time and by no means am I over it, but I know the best way to face fear is to face it straight on," Clarke told the newspaper.

"I'm not sure if I had a gun at that time if it would have changed anything because I was taken by surprise," she said.

"But now I feel more comfortable around guns, and safer when they're in my possession."