Women and guns

Cynthia Holt had never handled a handgun until she recently took part in a women’s only gun safety course at Range America in Paducah. 

"I’ve always been a little leery of handguns, because you hear the stories," she said.

The single mother of a teenage son says learning how to shoot was not an overnight decision. "Makes you stop and think, especially if you have young children, is this the right decision for my family?" Holt said.  She does not have a gun in the house, but lives with a bat by the bed.

"The bat isn’t going to be as useful," she said. "A gun is going to stop the threat more than a bat would." 

It’s that mindset that brought her to Range America. Women on Target is a three hour basic course on gun handling and shooting. Range America General Manager Warren Jones says he noticed a need for it when more women showed an interest in target practice. "We don’t want our shooters to be intimidated by a man trying to teach them," he said. 

The class is capped at 25 and there is a waiting list. "The last class that we had, I put the class up on Monday (and) it was sold out on Thursday for two weeks out," Jones told us.

Susan Thompson has three children under the age of 10. "If something were to happen, I’m able to take care of my kids and I feel comfortable doing that," Thompson explained as to why she enrolled in the class.

Having a gun in the home may not make it a safer place to live. A Harvard School of Public Health study found 74 percent of people believe it makes it a more dangerous place. An interactive map by the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety shows the 84 publicly reported accidental shootings of children 17 and under since the start of 2016.  More than half happened in the victim’s or a friend’s home.

Concerns about owning a gun with kids in the house aren’t lost on Thompson. It’s why she’s planning to talk to them about it before she makes her purchase. "I don’t want it to be something they’re curious about," she said.

Holt and Thompson are teaching their kids a lesson as they are learning their own lesson about protecting their families. "I would never want to harm anybody, but if it came to me or them, it would be them and not me or my son," Holt said.

Here is a list of gun stores/ranges throughout our area:

Range America (Paducah, KY)
3021 Old Husbands Rd
(270) 709-5494

Shooter’s Supply (Paducah, KY)
3919 Cairo Rd
(270) 443-3758

Calvert City Gun Club (Calvert City, KY)
(270 493-0273

Grand Rivers Shooting Range
787 Dover Rd.
(270) 349-1070

Tombstone Gun Range (Marion, IL)
12121 Skyline Dr.
(618) 889-4238

Pro Gun & Indoor Range (Marion, IL)
2406 Skyline Dr.
(618) 993-2420

Newman’s Gun Club (Sesser, IL)
5704 Valier Lake Rd.
(618) 927-1991

Eagle Gun (Cape Girardeau, MO)
3138 MO-177
(573) 334-3636

Cape Girardeau County Gun Club (Pocahontas, MO)
1815 State Highway CC
(573) 833-6173

Ozark Thunder Indoor Gun Range (Farmington, MO)
5157 Flat River Road
(573) 518-0500

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