Sacramento, CA — More women are taking aim, with a rising number of gun-packing mom protecting their families in California's Central Valley.
More than 43% of Americans have guns in their homes. The latest Gallup Poll shows it's the highest number since the early 1990's and the number of Californians trying to carry concealed weapons is growing dramatically and so is the number of women, Ron Jones reports.
Concealed weapons permits known as CCW's are on the rise in Northern California Kim Denson, CCW Applicant, "I'm skinny and I'm light and I need some protection here."
Martin Febanske, CCW Applicant, "You can't go to the movies now without looking over your shoulder."
Ordained by law enforcement to legally use deadly force, they're average, ordinary men and women give permission to protect themselves or their families with a hidden hand gun
Christa Barrera, CCW Applicant, "Walking to the park or something I feel much safer."
Bret Nelson, CCW Applicant, "It's a peace of mind."
Tucked underneath their clothing at the grocery store or maybe even the park, they're packing heat!
Kim Denson, CCW Applicant, "I'm not the only one thinking about it."
Following the economic crisis of 2008 there has been a steady rise in CCW permits.
In El Dorado County the sheriff's department issued 415 CCW's, that number almost doubled this year. Placer County tripled their CCW permits and in Sacramento County that number has gone through the roof.
Sgt. Jason Ramos, Sac Sheriff, "It's kind of a perfect storm of circumstances that came together."
Sgt. Ramos says Sheriff Scott Jones was elected in 2010 when Sacramento County was struggling financially and laying off deputies.
The cuts were so deep, the sheriff told residents he could no longer guarantee their safety and promised to open the CCW permit flood gates.
Sgt. Ramos, "We wish we were able to keep up with the demand. It's just not practical."
Right now there are close to 4,000 applicants on the waiting list.
Kim Denson, "I watch the news. Have you watched the 6 o'clock news?"
And surprisingly nearly 30% are women. Many moms with small children
Christa Barrera, "I want to be able to protect my kids, and my daughters."
And more mothers are packing to protect, Christa Barrera applied for a permit after feeling vulnerable, "Here in Sacramento, walking down the street there was a mother with her two children and her daughter was abducted right there right in the middle of daylight."
Christa is referring to the May arrest of Cedric Holland. He's accused of snatching a 7 year-old girl off the street in broad daylight, in front of the child's mom and then stuffing her in his trunk.
Police say the little girl escaped from Holland a registered sex offender
Christa Barrera, "God forbid if anything would ever happen but at least I feel I'll be able to protect my children."
As with most counties, getting a CCW permit in Sacramento County is not easy. The process could take more than a year.
Kim Denson, "I'll wait forever if I had to, as long as I can protect my family. I'll wait as long as I have to."
Kim and Eric have a small child at home. She wants her little girl to know mommy has everything under control, "I have a Springfield XD 9mm. DOES IT DO THE JOB? It does do the job, yes."
They're going through gun training as a family, "His gun is actually a lot more accurate than mine but I can still hit something."
Christa Barrera, "I work in the clerical field, in administration."
This growing breed of gun toting moms is hoping not to be on the wrong side of a crime.
Christa Barrera, "I want to be prepared. I don't want to be that next victim."
Opponents argue that CCW's create a culture of violence. A 2009 American Journal of Public Health found that someone carrying a gun for self-defense was four and a half times more likely to be shot during an assault than a victim without a gun.