If you walk into a gun store these days, you might see something new: pink and purple guns, marketed directly to women. According to an NPR story, the National Shooting Sports Foundation recently showed gun store owners reporting "a 73 percent increase in female customers in 2009 from the year before."
Other similar factoids might suggest that gun ownership is on the rise for women in America. ("The NRA says it's also organizing more hunting excursions for women than ever before," the same article reads.) But something tells me that most of the women in this photo series wouldn't go for the pink guns.
Lindsay McCrum has spent more than three years creating portraits of female gun owners in America, and 80 of them are found in her new, cheekily titled book, Chicks with Guns. Though not completely comprehensive, the portraits do show a wide range of women, young and old — police officers, Olympic athletes, teenage ranchers, bounty hunters and housewives.
McCrum lets the photos — and the women — speak for themselves: Each image is paired with a caption in which the women tell their stories in their own words. Without opening the proverbial can of worms that is the gun-ownership debate, these photos are at least provocative. McCrum's book reveals just how varied and deeply ingrained gun enthusiasm can be. All judgments aside, the culture is there, and this is what part of it looks like.