EAST TEXAS (KTRE/KLTV) - It's an area dominated by men, but the demographics are changing, today more Texas women are getting their hands on concealed handgun licenses than ever before.
"It's a security blanket you carry around with you that nobody knows you have," Marcy Dillon said.
Dillon said she got her concealed carry permit to protect herself and her children in case her husband wasn't around to defend them. I learned how to handle a gun and I can teach my children how to handle a gun. How not to be afraid of it and respect the power of the gun."
Texas Department of Public Safety numbers show that nearly 31-thousand women in Texas obtained a license. That's 40 percent higher than the previous high in 1996 when concealed handgun permits were first issued in Texas. "We are seeing more women all the time and so far we average 30, possibly 40 percent, of the classes that are women," Jerry Adams, DPS, said.
Adams and John Coblentz teach concealed handgun classes to men and women in East Texas. They say it's not just women arming up. In Angelina County, there were 714 licenses issued in fiscal year 2009, compared to 331 the previous year. Nacogdoches County had 470 in 2009 and 231 the year before.
The exact reason for this rise in concealed carry is not known, but some gun owners speculate proposed gun control legislation may be a big part. "The people that are pushing gun control are making people nervous and they're buying weapons," Adams said.
"All of them are concerned about their safety, being able to go out to the grocery store. They don't want to be a victim," he added.
Predictions are it's a trend that will only go up.