Is the fact that more women are living without men in the house increasing gun ownership?
A hot shell casing hits the floor, joining hundreds of others littering the concrete at Jackson Arms Indoor Shooting Range in South San Francisco.
Shrum centers herself and aims again. Bang.
After two days using her new revolver, Shrum's hands are sore from the recoil of every shot.
"I get that rush and power from a Magnum," said the 36-year-old Millbrae resident. "I've taken archery and thrown darts, but shooting is another way to hurl something through the air. But this is just like shooting a paper ball into the trash can. TwoPoints. Air ball."
She is among a growing number of women who are showing up at shooting ranges across the country. Many women who visit the Jackson Arms shooting gallery do it because they love the power of guns and want to learn how to protect themselves.
While there are no hard figures on the number of women who own guns, it's estimated that nationwide 11 million to 17 million women wield firearms, said Laura Browder, author of "Her Best Shot: Women and Guns in America." The National Rifle Association doesn't keep figures by gender.
Browder said the gun industry is just as focused on females as it has been over the last 200 years, but the marketing strategy now taps into their fears.
"The gun industry is saying, 'Look, the state is not here to protect you, the cops are
not here, no one is looking out for you,'" said Browder, who is assistant professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. "There's a lot of single mothers, and there's a lot of suggestion there is no man in the house, and the woman has got to take care of herself." . . .