Women sticking to their guns on concealed carry - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Women sticking to their guns on concealed carry

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Department of Justice has gotten more than 25,700 applications since the concealed carry law went into effect nearly a week ago.

Organizations offering training classes say they have been booked solid for months, and many of their clients have been women.

On an average day, Tina Schoewe is balancing her time between school, work and family.

Now, she is making time to train before getting her concealed carry permit.

"I do not want to be in a situation where I cannot defend myself," Schoewe said.

That is why she signed up two months in advance to take a concealed carry class at Deerfield Pistol & Archery Center. The owner says they have had more than 500 students since August and 25-30 percent have been women.

"Women are feeling that this is a way they can empower themselves and take responsibility for their own safety," Schoewe said.

She does not plan to carry her revolver around everywhere when she gets her permit, especially not at first.

"When I feel more comfortable with it, and I feel safer with it," she said. "It is a serious decision to carry a gun. There are a lot of things you have to think about carrying a gun."

As part of their classes to get a certificate, some people are not even required to pick up a gun, but instructors at Deerfield are stressing that it is all about muscle memory.

"There is a lot more to this than people realize," said John Erlandson. "Like my first slide says, you are no more armed because you have a gun on your hip than you are a musician because you own a guitar."

The more you train, the better you will be at it.

"We legally cannot fail anybody, or not issue a certificate, but at least it gives us an idea of what to suggest in terms of where they may need further training themselves," Erlandson said.

In those cases, they may also suggest alternatives to carrying a gun covered under the law, like carrying a knife or a Taser.

"Law-abiding people who are getting a permit are not the ones you have to fear," Schoewe said. "It is the ones that have been carrying concealed weapons illegally. Those are the ones we need to worry about."

"I have two female friends that want me to take them out and practice shooting with my gun and see how it feels because some of them are kind of scared," she said. "Once you try, it is not that bad. It is very liberating to feel that you can have some power and not be a victim."

Schoewe says she has practiced using her gun more since her concealed carry class and applied for her permit online.

DOJ has 45 days to issue CCW licenses for those applying between November 1 and December 1.

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