TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) – It’s a scenario that most hope to avoid, being forced to defend yourself.
But it is something that has become a reality for some.
And more women in southern Arizona are educating themselves on what to do should they ever come face to face with it.
13 News’ Mary Coleman spent Friday night with one group of women getting a hands-on lesson with firearms.
In previous years, it was primarily men who signed up for firearms courses at The Hub Gun Store, located near the intersection of East 22nd Street and South Alvernon Way.
Today, it’s a much different story as more women than ever are turning to firearms to protect themselves and their families.
The course puts women in real-life scenarios, whether they are just curious or seriously considering arming themselves.
Preshie Ronquillo is an instructor at The Hub and saw the need for a class for women.
“Especially now with the incidents we’ve had lately, people are wanting to defend themselves and we love that, but we encourage that you get training with that because with that comes a lot of liability and responsibility,” she said.
The class was created to arm women with knowledge.
Arizona women aren’t alone, as women are the fastest-growing group of gun owners in the country according to the NRA.
“I was around when the Gabby Giffords incident happened and so that’s when I first started carrying after that happened because if it can happen to a congresswoman on a Saturday in Tucson at Safeway, it can happen at any time,” said Lisa Golembiewski of Delta Defense. “So that’s when I started carrying and training for myself and my children.”
While the class involves only a simulator, it allows the women to get comfortable with firearms.
Many we talked with say they are trying to get over the initial fear of handling a gun.
“Here is where you would learn that about yourself and continuously training could probably break you away from that so do the stepping stones, get you familiar … baby steps,” Ronquillo said.
“At the end of the day, sometimes we’re our own first responder, and having that training could really make a difference between life and death,” Golembiewski said.
The Hub offers multiple firearm classes, from those wanting to know the laws to those wanting to conceal carry.
Instructors said it is not about fear, it is about staying vigilant, safe, and trained.
13 News keeps track of the violent crimes in southern Arizona.
There have been at least eight shootings, including four fatal ones, in the area in January alone. You can check out the map at the bottom of this story. If you click on the icon, you can read out a story about that incident.
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