WACO, TX — A handgun safety class was held in Waco to train local women who want to own a gun on the basics.
"Some women have never shot a gun in their life, I personally have but I know lots that have never held a gun, never shot one, have no experience at all, so we definitely want to introduce that in a safe environment," says Bianca Tagle with Truett Insurance Services, one of the event sponsors.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, as of December 31, 2020, there were 1,626,242 active license holders.
From September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020, a total of 390,886 license applications were issued and 114,140 (29.20%) were women.
Demographic of license applications that were issued to women:
- American Indian or Alaskan Native: 551 (0.14%)
- Asian or Pacific Islander: 2,125 (0.54%)
- Multi-Racial: 2,359 (0.60%)
- Other/Unknown: 4,342 (1.11%)
- Black: 16,905 (4.32%)
- White: 87,858 (22.48%)
That's why the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the African American Chamber of Commerce (C.T.A.A.C.C.) hosted the event in partnership with Truett Insurance and the Waco Police Department to educate Black and Hispanic women in the community.
"For our communities of color it is so important that we are as actively participating in all of rights and liberties as everyone else in our community," says Rachel Pate, the vice president with the C.T.A.A.C.C.
The training is only for women, and it's run by women officers, to provide a safe non-judgmental setting.
"I think with handguns I was never comfortable with them growing up they were never in my home, there is a little bit of fear. So I'm super glad that we do have female officers that are leading the training. It will ease a lot of the fears that I have in handling a gun," says Karla Bautista who attended the gun safety class.
Officers broke down the basics from safety and handling to purchasing and carrying.
"The biggest question that a lot of women have is how to carry a gun where they conceal it, that's a big thing. Where am I going to hide it so people can't see it," says Melissa Thompson who was just promoted to Sergeant with the Waco Police Department.
They also discussed strategies on how to best handle encounters with police officers while carrying a weapon.
"We want to make certain that if we are doing everything within the lines, that we are operating in integrity, that when and if the situation arises that we have to be confronted with a dangerous situation, or even a situation with law enforcement that we know how to respond," says Pate.
Organizers say based on the response from the event, they hope to host more training classes, and one day level the playing field on how many gun owners are minority women.
"I'm really excited that maybe after this I'll go to a gun range and it won't just be males out there but it'll be females too," says Bautista.