Gun guidance for women choosing to carry - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gun guidance for women choosing to carry

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Firearms trainers call it the rule of three.

Certified trainer Kristen Todd of Range USA in East Memphis said the rule covers 90 percent of confrontations involving a firearm. "They happen within three yards or less, they get off three rounds, and it's over in about three seconds," she said.

Three seconds.

Todd teaches her students surviving those three seconds starts with staying out of them in the first place. She calls that situational awareness.

"Criminals actually look for people, especially women, who are not paying attention," she said. "Stay away from looking down at the phone, ladies digging through a purse. Be alert, head on a swivel, looking around. If you're coming into your neighborhood, you need to be watching who is behind you. Is it a neighbor that you recognize? Is it a car that you don't recognize and therefore, you're not going to pull into the driveway? You're going to keep going."

If trouble actually makes it into your driveway, and you're confronted within the rule of three, Todd said before you pull that gun, you must be sure you've established intent, ability and jeopardy. That means you are certain the attacker has the intent and ability to harm you, and you can articulate that your life is indeed in jeopardy.

"You have to be able to say you were afraid for your life in that moment," she said. 

In those three seconds, Todd said a gun-owner with years of training can use two advanced techniques to survive:

* PALM-THRUST TO FACE/FIRE FROM GUARD POSITION (HIP). "If the attacker has his gun drawn, I could palm-strike him in the face to distract him and possibly cause injury to his nose, then draw and fire from (my hip). If I actually try to extend my gun out, I really don't have the time or distance to do that, and he could reach out and take the gun from me."

* PALM-THRUST TO GUN/FIRE FROM GUARD POSITION (HIP). "Another option is palm-thrust to the gun, hold it in (the attacker's stomach) as you draw (your gun) and fire from guard. I'm eliminating that gun being pointed at me in that moment."

Managing that moment -- those three seconds -- doesn't come naturally. It takes a commitment to repetitive training.

"They need to continue their training," Todd said. "They need to take (advanced) classes. They need to shoot about 50 rounds once a month to maintain that skill set. You learn those skills, and then you pull out those skills as you need them in that moment, based on the situation."

From 2010 through 2014, the Tennessee Department of Safety has issued more than a quarter of its handgun carry permits to women. Women have been issued an average of 29 percent of those permits, according to department data.

The data revealed a whopping 141 percent increase in the issuance or renewal of permits to Tennessee women between 2010 and 2013, from 24,450 to 58,833. Women 46 to 50 have been issued the largest increase in permits: a 128 percent increase in that age category from 2011 to 2013 (3,146 to 7,160).

The records also revealed a single-year decline in Tennessee women's permits from a high of 58,833 in 2013 to 38,485 total in 2014, a drop of 35 percent.

"We can't speculate on why there is an increase or decrease in the figures," said safety department Director of Communications Jennifer C. Donnals. "However, we do tend to see an increase in the overall number of permits issued during election years." 2012 was a presidential election year.

"And there was a dramatic increase in the overall number of permits issued after the Sandy Hook School shooting in December 2012, which could explain the increase from 2010 to 2013, but then the decrease from 2013 to 2014." A 20-year-old gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.

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