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Packing Heat: Statistics Show Number Of Female Gun Owners On The Rise

HIGHLAND LAKES, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Some ladies lunch, some shop, while some others are taking aim.

Statistics show a new trend -- an increasing number of gun owners are now women.

For reasons ranging from sport to protection, the number of females buying guns has seen a spike in the last few years, CBS 2's Ann Mercogliano reported.

In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll 23 percent of woman reported they are gun owners, up from 13 percent in 2005.

Maria Alampi at the Cherry Ridge Range in New Jersey teaches women how to shoot. While it used to be known as a man's sport, it may not be such the case much longer.

"A lot of women, a lot of college-age women, take the course," Alampi said.

Anthony Colandro runs a firearm training school in New Jersey, where right now he said women are a driving force for business.

"The woman of the house is the one seeking training where the husbands tend to be reluctant," Colandro said.

In New York, authorities said the number of women seeking gun permits has more than doubled in the last decade.

A woman named "Joanne," from Passaic, said she is among the women interested in shooting as a sport.

"These women are looking for different things to do besides playing tennis and going out on a golf course," she said.

While soccer moms and celebrities may be part of the growing trend, gun control advocates said they are skeptical and warn that people who keep guns in their homes ignore the danger.

"If you put a gun in the home you are putting your family at risk and that is a reality that cannot be disputed," said Dennis Henigan, of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

But some women who pack heat said exactly the opposite is true.

"I take my job as a mom very seriously. Having it there is just another layer of protection -- hopefully I will never have to take it out," one woman said.

Based on polls and gun sale statistics, an estimated 15 to 20 million American women own firearms.

What do you make of this new trend?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below...

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