Women carry their lives in their purses. Now more women are packing something else in their pocketbooks, they say could save their lives.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division says there are nearly 220 thousand CWP holders across the state. About 30% of those are women.
Manufacturers are taking notice, putting new products on store shelves to cater to women’s carrying needs.
“The first one that I bought was pretty much made for a man, and it stuck out like a sore thumb,” said Stephanie Hallam about the first holster she purchased.
“Every time you moved, you were re-adjusting, and it just wasn’t meant for a woman,” agreed Tarra Stoddard.
Hallam and Stoddard are part of a group called The Well Armed Woman. Their chapter is based out of Greenville, but there are chapters across the country. The group’s goal is to educate, equip and empower women.
The Well Armed Woman started in Arizona at the beginning of 2012. It’s already grown to 3 thousand members in more than 100 chapters across 37 states.
“It’s not about trying to be a man or G.I. Jane,” explained Sheila Norwood, a member of the Greenville chapter, “it’s what to do, when we’re home alone protecting our families, our children.”
“I can take it off and I can actually shoot through bag if I needed to,” said member Lynne Clem as she demonstrated the holster she wears around her waist.
Clem and the other chapter members say they’ve seen a difference in recent years, with companies making more holsters to fit a woman’s body – under a skirt, strapped to an ankle, or wrapped around the waist. There’s even a style that attaches to a bra.
“You always know where it is, you can practice reaching in and out,” demonstrated Norwood of the holster she carries in her purse.
An Upstate woman has started an online business to cater to women’s needs. Paula is a Greenville grandmother who started an online store called Packin’ Pretty.
“If you feel threatened, you can easily just have your hand on your weapon, if need-be you can literally fire through it,” she described as she demonstrated one of her pocketbooks. She makes purses and handbags with holsters built-in.
“Ultimately, we trust in the Lord in all of those circumstances but the Lord does ask of us that we be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” She’s a missionary who takes the gospel all over the world. Back at home, she tells 7 On Your Side, women need to be educated, prepared and ready to step up to protect themselves, if needed.
“In my teenage years, I found myself in a situation where I had to defend my best friend who was being viciously attacked by a would-be rapist, so I know first-hand that bad things happen to good people.”