MIAMI (CBS4) – Ladies night used to entail a trip to a favorite restaurant or bar. But recently, ladies night is becoming more and more popular at local gun ranges, including the Florida Gun Center in Hialeah.
Firearms instructor Ike Mont-Ros said he’s seen a drastic jump in the number of women taking his class. When he started six years ago; there was one woman for every six students. Today, he said women make up half or more of his classes.
“Women are being more aware of the need for self defense,” said Mont-Ros.
It’s a need that drives Kathy Shabathai to carry a revolver and practice her aim.
“It’s as much sport as it is for personal protection,” said Shabathai. “We live in a big city. I’m a mother. I’m a grandmother. I feel competent to protect myself in an emergency.”
Shabathai is a realtor and often finds herself alone with strangers in strange places.
“Some of my colleagues have been attacked unfortunately,” she said. “Occasionally I do take my weapon, if I’m in parts of town that are strange to me and if I think I’m gonna be late at night…its comfortable to have it.”
More than 170,000 women in Florida, or roughly 20 percent of the permit holders, have a concealed weapons license, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture.
“Women need to stop playing the victim or being the victim and arm themselves with a gun and defend themselves,” said Regis Giles, the owner of the website girlsjustwannahaveguns.com.
Giles said women of all ages log onto her site. “It has increased ever since I started the website from hundreds to thousands now.”
It is a trend that gun manufacturers have also recognized, creating guns that are more appealing to women.
“Not only in size, also in adding a little color to it to look a little more eye appealing,” said Mont-Ros. “Definitely, I think they’re paying a lot of attention to females today.”