Saturday, October 29, 2005

Arizona women pick guns

Say that citizens need weapons to defend themselves

Mirsada Buric-Adam
The Daily Courier
Oct. 28, 2005 12:00 AM

PRESCOTT - Judy Dutko, Jane Anne Hulen and Christy Foote believe the Second Amendment guarantees people the right to defend themselves. And they exercise that right in their daily lives.

To abide by Arizona gun laws, these women have obtained concealed-weapon permits to be able to carry their guns in their purses, for example.

In 2003, more than 13,500 women had concealed weapons permits, 20 percent of the total, according to a 2004 Arizona Republic review of concealed-weapon permit data maintained by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

And the state just made it easier to get a permit. On Aug. 12, a new law took effect that made a license for carrying a concealed weapon last longer and requires less training to get.

For some women, carrying a concealed weapon is a priority.

Dutko, a retired U.S. history teacher, said when she moved from California to Prescott eight years ago, she did three things: registered to vote, joined a local church and obtained a concealed-weapon permit.

Although Dutko believes that the Second Amendment should guarantee her permit to bear arms anywhere in the country, in California the gun laws said differently, she said.

"They don't let people to defend themselves," she said.

During the Rodney King riots, she carried a gun in her purse for protection, and if police had caught her, she would have been an outlaw, she said.

Foote, a 29-year-old real estate agent who owns a Glock 9 mm pistol, believes crimes against people often happen before police are able to act.

"They do not do anything until there is a problem," she said. "If you have your own gun, you have a plan of your own."

In addition, she believes that women are still at a disadvantage even if they take self-defense classes that do not involve firearms because men are naturally stronger than women.

"You rarely have to fire a gun," said Hulen, a 52-year-old marketing director at Gunsite in Paulden. She carries a holstered 1911 .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol. "You just have to show it. That is all it takes."

Hulen, Dutko and Foote, who are also members of the National Rifle Association, agree that classes and hands-on practice are necessary not only to become familiar and more skilled with firearms, but also to become more aware of your environment.

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