Girls and Guns

October 2013
Written By: 
Harold Rohrback
Photographs by: 
Harold Rohrback

Shooting is chic at Grand Strand locations



Our present culture is experiencing a phenomenon that is dissolving a long-held gender barrier: Girls with guns. Women are joining the ranks of men in increasing numbers with the ownership and use of firearms. According to FBI statistics, December 2012 had the highest number of background checks for firearm purchases of any month on record with 2.78 million. There were 19.6 million firearm purchases in all of 2012. Women accounted for 24 percent, compared to only 13 percent in 2008.  

The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that women target shooters have increased by 46.5 percent over the last 5 years, while women purchasing handguns from firearm retailers has increased 83 percent over that same time period. Whether for the sport of target shooting or self-defense, the number of women participating is being noticed by the retail and merchandising markets.

Lori Lilly grew up around firearms, and shooting a gun in the outdoors was as natural as going to church on Sunday. Lori found that there wasn’t anywhere for a female shooter to go that catered to the needs and wants of women, so, along with her husband, Jim, she opened A Shooting Affair. Located in downtown Conway, it is a women’s retail gun and accessory store that is loaded with bling. Every style of purse/pocketbook holster imaginable is on display, including a bra holster. Really.

Lori says that when women enter A Shooting Affair, they can’t believe there is finally a store dedicated to their needs. Lori credits part of the rise in popularity to the fact that it is something men and women can enjoy and do together as a couple. To promote safe gun ownership, they provide free gun classes to all women, whether you buy a gun from them or not.

Across town is The Gun Store, a full-service shop complete with a safe, climate-controlled indoor shooting range. David Floyd and Jason Wallace opened the store to fill the need for a safe shooting environment with skilled, professional personnel. Floyd and Wallace both have a military and police backgrounds, along with a wealth of knowledge. They have adjusted their inventory to meet their increased female customer demands and report that pink and lavender handguns are top sellers.

Floyd says their NRA Basic Handgun Class is usually attended by 75 percent women. The class lasts 8 hours and costs $100, which includes manuals.
Whatever the reason, the numbers are clear—there is a call to arms and the callers are of the female persuasion.