Women and Concealed Carry Permits

Every week, I find myself getting into conversations with more and more women about Concealed Carry Permits.  Most of them are seriously considering the benefits of obtaining their CCW, or Concealed Carry Permit, in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.  In what used to be considered a specialized area of permits primarily dominated by males, many women are now inquiring about CCW training and the process of being granted their own concealed carry permit.

There are many reasons why a woman would want to carry a firearm. First of all, if they travel to and from work or home every day –whether 10 miles or 100 miles – the peace of mind that comes from knowing one can defend themselves  in the event of a situation is comforting.  The number of Car-jackings and parking lots and/or parking garage hold-ups would also be part of this scenario.  Secondly, a woman may be physically unable to defend herself from an aggressive attacker and so having the benefit to carry a firearm to “level the field” is a concept that appeals to them.  A third reason given is to provide a sense of security for the valuables (i.e. jewelry, cash, credit cards, other tangible items) they typically have with them, not to mention their children or other family members.  Traveling on the freeway or back country roads, along with the prospect of a flat tire or vehicle breakdown is another reason given, as well as the possibility of driving through “sketchy”  or depressed areas of town. The number of reasons for a woman to have a concealed carry permit are numerous, but all come back to safety and security.  Finally, women want to have equity and fairness with men, so it is only natural to want to take advantage of the “right to carry” in the State of California and as an expression of our Second Amendment rights afforded by the US Constitution.

What are the roadblocks to a woman obtaining a concealed carry permit?  First, and most importantly, a woman needs to get over the stigma that guns/firearms are only for men.  This can be a major psychological hurdle to overcome.  Coupled with this irrational belief may be that “guns are dangerous”.  These two thoughts have prevented many woman from taking positive steps forward towards obtaining  a  permit.  Many counties in California have become more favorable about the number of CCW’s they are processing.  It has become a bit easier to navigate through the bureaucratic process to receive a CCW permit. While all of the counties each have their own specific  requirements  for completing the application process and obtaining CCW training, generally, the steps are not too complicated or costly.  Each county will ask the individual to complete either 8 or 16 hours of CCW training and to go through a personal interview. In addition to the interview, they will need to undergo a background check and fingerprinting process.  In the interview, the applicant will need to answer questions from the interviewer (usually a law enforcement professional) as well as present their “good cause” statement. The “good cause” statement  essentially  outlines the reasons why the individual feels  justified in obtaining and carrying a concealed firearm for protection. The reasons can be few or numerous, but  are very important, as they will determine whether or not the county ultimately grants the concealed carry permit.

Luckily, through education and reaching out, word is getting out to more women that it is appropriate and reasonable for them to apply for and receive their CCW Permit. I’ve talked and trained with a number of women of all ages and backgrounds, ethnicities and education, in order to assist them in reaching this goal. The biggest benefit I have seen from attainment of a Concealed Carry Permit for women is the realization that they are capable of taking responsibility for their own safety.  In their CCW training, they are taught the safe handling, loading and shooting a firearm, reloading, aiming and shooting under stress. Women actually have an advantage in that they come into training with little or no preconceived notions – essentially a blank slate – so they learn proper techniques without  having to “unlearn” previous faulty or incomplete training.

Personally, I appreciate knowing that I am able to defend myself and my family if I were to feel  directly threatened actively while in my home, or in public.  In continuing to encourage other women, both young and old, to at least consider this option, I believe I am helping to empower them to take responsibility for their own safety and security, as well as of their loved ones.  The quiet sense of knowing one has the ability to defend against a predator is worth the efforts necessary  to obtain a concealed carry permit.