SHAWNEE, Kan. - Gun stores are seeing a surge in the number of women purchasing firearms. An estimated 20 million women in the United States own guns and they are educating themselves on how to use them.
Codie Allen and her family live in the suburbs.
"I have three kids, 13 years old, 6 years old and 4 years old. They are very outdoorsy, fun loving kids," Allen said.
She lives in a safe, upper-middle class neighborhood, but recently made the decision to take extra steps to protect her family on those nights when her husband works late.
"I took a conceal and carry class. I learned how to shoot a pistol and revolver," Allen said.
Allen said at first, guns were intimidating.
"We all know what guns are capable of doing, and for me it was safety first. Being a mother of three, it's always going to be safety first," Allen said.
But after taking gun training classes, her feelings changed.
"Knowing that I had something, that could protect my family, if ever need be, was very empowering, and then knowing how to actually control and handle a weapon of that caliber," Allen said.
Rebecca Bieker is the founder of She's a Pistol, a self-defense company in Shawnee.
"We sell everything from pepper spray and stun guns, to firearms with a purpose of self defense in mind," Bieker said.
Bieker said she came up with the name of the store, which is geared toward women, and sales have been strong.
"We are seeing more women come in that want to protect themselves, but also protect their family and they are realizing they are just as capable of protecting themselves and a family member and their male counterpart and they are taking it upon themselves to find a method that works for them," Bieker said.
Bieker said colorful firearms are popular with women.
Allen selected a purple gun and added crystals. She said don't be fooled by the look of her weapon.
"If someone broke into my house with the intent to harm myself or my children, would I use it? Absolutely," Allen said.
Allen said she is a responsible gun owner and keeps her gun locked up. She said she is glad she has a tool to defend herself and her family.
The owner of She's a Pistol has also seen a surge in the number of people enrolling in gun education classes.