Women line up for Boone County shooting class

Women are filling up shooting classes in Boone County.
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More mothers are buying guns, determined to protect themselves and their families.

Heather Schaller took a women's-only firearms class, learning to fire the perfect shot.

"We are being taught safety. We are being taught if we are attacked, how to protect ourselves," Schaller said.

She needs to know how to protect herself because she is a busy real estate agent. The mother and wife talked with Eyewitness News about learning to shoot during breakfast, before heading off to firearms training.

Protection is the primary reason Heather's husband signed her up for the class. Before that, the closes she's come to handling a gun is in a Western-style family photo.

"Sometimes she is out showing houses in the evenings. Even if it is during the day, the prospective buyer and seller, you never know what could happen," said her husband, Matt Schaller.

"He is a hunter and both my boys are hunters. I have been around guns since I have been married to him, but have never used it," Heather said.

She is not alone.

A recent study estimates 12-15 million women in the United States are gun owners. Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell's class is so popular among women, there is a constant waiting list.

"They are expecting you to wilt into nothing, as opposed to fighting back," Campbell tells the class.

Campbell conducts the two-day course, starting with a lot of lecture time before they handle weapons.

"This is a fake gun. Literally, I will have people come in saying, 'Can you help me make this work?'," Campbell said.

Eventually, the women are face-to-face with their targets, realizing they may be an attacker's target one day.

Although the course is only two days, the class is filled up and there is a waiting list. The goal is to get the women to feel comfortable with the gun, just in case they ever have to use it.

"You have to get into the mindset that you are under attack and you need to protect yourself," Heather Schaller said.

Heather's firearms classmates saw firsthand what improper training could do. One student needed minor first aid for a bruise from handling her weapon incorrectly while shooting.

Now that Heather has a better grip on handling a gun, she and her family feel better about her being ready to protect herself.

"Once you are comfortable with a gun, that target shooting is easier," Heather said.

She plans to take a second shooting class to improve her aim.