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May 31, 2014 at 6:12 PM

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Women explain why they carry guns


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Katie Oittinen, just received her Concealed Pistol License in the mail. "It's important for me to have a CPL to protect myself and my son," she said. Oittinen drives down long, dark roads to reach her home outside Granite Falls. "You can't count on a sheriff to show up in a timely manner and keep you safe. It is also important for me to be able to protect myself while out in the woods. You never know what kind of wildlife you may run in to," she said.

The Seattle Times article: Pistol permits skyrocket, especially for women



ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Gracie McKee, director of training and range manager at West Coast Armory, knew she wanted her Concealed Pistol License by the age of 19, and obtained it at age 21. "The reason I carry is out of a deep-seated love for myself, my family and the innocents," she said. By the age of 24, McKee became an NRA training counselor, a certified instructor and a range safety officer. "I'd like to encourage women to explore any avenues, whether it be carrying concealed or something else, that will empower them to take on the survivor mind-set and refuse to be a victim," she said.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Anette Wachter, a member of the U.S. National Rifle Team and Belltown resident, secured her Concealed Pistol License three years ago. "I carry because I feel I am responsible for my own safety," she said. Wachter says she can't rely on others or the police to be there at the right time to protect her. She conceal carries in a variety of ways, including a bra holster, an inner waistband holster and side holster. She also designs upcycled-bullet jewelry and blogs about women and gun culture at http://www.30calgal.com.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Michelle Locke Hemby, of Queen Anne, applied for her Concealed Pistol License in March. "My biggest concern is that in the event I need to use a gun, I most certainly do not want to be afraid to," she said. Hemby wanted a license to exercise her rights of gun ownership. She also applied after hearing rumors that the federal government could try to restrict CPLs. The license would also give Hemby the ability to make an immediate purchase of a gun, instead of going through a waiting period.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Linda Waggoner, obtained her Concealed Pistol License in Washington state about three years ago, and also had one in Alaska for 10 years. "We live in such an isolated area, for me, it's for protection," said Waggoner, who lives with her husband in the rural Robe Valley near Granite Falls. Isolated roads, bears and cougars are all part of life in this part of Snohomish County. Most of the time, Waggoner carries a Smith & Wesson BODYGUARD 380 with a laser sight on her hip.

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