Living: When Women Take Up Arms

More are intent on being their own protectors

American women are taking up arms. Propelled by a rising tide of crime, more and more of them no longer seem willing to trust their safety solely to their husbands, their neighbors or the local police. Between 1983 and 1986, as gun sales to men held steady, gun ownership among women jumped 53%, to more than 12 million, according to a Gallup poll commissioned by gunmaker Smith & Wesson. Even more striking, the poll found that the number of women who were considering buying a weapon quadrupled, to nearly 2 million.

The movement to own and carry guns is spread fairly...

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