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Female Firepower Empowering Women

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STROUDSBURG -- With all the talk about guns and gun control in the U.S. these days, it seems more and more women have decided to pick up a pistol and learn how to fire. We found it to be a growing trend, especially around northeastern Pennsylvania.

Inside the Pocono Pistol Club in Stroudsburg, a group of women are locked and loaded, just a bunch of gals and their guns. They are members of a new gun club for women in the Poconos.

"'A Girl and A Gun' is all about empowering women," said Dorothea Clevenger. "We stress safety. We stress education, and it's so important that the girls have a sisterhood, and that's what 'A Girl and A Gun' is all about."

The sport of shooting guns isn't just for the guys anymore. It seems more and more women are packing heat.

"Times are changing and ladies are feeling they don't want to be a victim," said Clevenger.

"A Girl and A Gun" started in the Poconos in January. Since then, more than 50 women have pulled the trigger.

"It's great to see everyone at different levels of experience," said Sandra Zettlemoyer of Fogelsville.  "I, myself, am also working towards becoming an instructor, so it's nice just to have that camaraderie and the sisterhood."

The gals come to the range for different reasons, but for most it's self-protection.

"If there is a firearm in the house, I want to make sure I'm proficient," said Patricia Konopa of Tannersville.

"A Girl and A Gun" educates women on female firepower.

"Learning how to use a firearm safely, learning how to do it safely, and that is what we are about making sure that they can become proficient with their firearm," Clevenger said.

Producer Kerry Brazen decided to see what the bang was all about.

Kerry quickly learned that not everyone likes the same type of gun, something beginners don't always realize.

"Try different guns before you even buy one because the most important thing is that you are comfortable with it," said Konopa. "To actually go to a gun shop and pick out a gun because it's small and it's cute is not the right thing to do."

The nice part about coming to this gun range is that it allows women to try a variety of different guns before they go out to buy one.

From the gun range to the gun shop

"When we started in business 43 years ago, maybe one lady would come in once a month, if that. Now it's every day," said Edward Piestrak, Piestrak Gun Shop co-owner.

Over the past few months, Piestrak has seen even more women interested in guns.

"There is a big age difference. They are buying them from young girls, 21. Then you get senior citizens in their 60s, 70s buying guns because there is a different trend now. They feel threatened in their own home."

Piestrak tells us more gun companies are marketing weapons towards women.

"They are coming out with all kinds of colored guns and now a lot of women don't like the pink ones, red ones, and aqua ones and all that. However, a lot of them do. We sell a lot of those."

Piestrak also tells us trying out a gun is better than buying one on the spot.

"A lot of them are concerned about they never had a gun before. They never needed one before, but now they end up going to the range."

"If women know they have that support, I really feel they are going to take advantage of that," said Zettlemoyer. "It's about getting the word out and getting them educated to be safe because it's a big responsibility, but it's something that once you become familiar with it, it's like driving your car."

Even though there is fun and camaraderie in the sport, these women take protecting themselves safely and seriously.

"I'm worth defending and that is what a lot of it is about," Clevenger added. "You're worth defending, children are worth defending. We pray every day, 'please don't make me have to shoot this firearm.' However, I can."

If you find you are interested in becoming a female with firepower, "A Girl and A Gun" is only $50 a year to join. New members are always welcome, and there may be other outlets closer to you. Click here for more information.

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