Women are taking control. For the first time ever, a national women's gun league is in Tampa teaching women all about guns, shooting and even special ops training.
It's part of a conference hosted by "A Girl and A Gun," a women's shooting league based out of Texas. The ladies will spend time in the classroom and on the range at Shooter's World in Tampa learning everything they need to know about special ops training and how to apply it to the real world.
The conference is called "Battlemind." About two dozen women came from all over the country to participate in the three-day conference.
Gabriella Marra traveled all the way from Connecticut, and she says it's well worth the trip.
"It’s such a nurturing environment," she said.
While you may not think "nurturing" when you see the ladies shooting AR-15's, Marra says you'd be surprised. She says no matter what their skill level is, or why they're there, the ladies always feel comfortable and come together, learning something new each day.
Marra has a more extensive background with guns. She says she considered shooting a hobby for several years before she started taking classes like Battlemind to improve her skills. Living in Connecticut, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting hit close to home, and given the state of the world today, Marra says she decided to take her skills to the next level.
"I feel more confident now. I feel better than just having my concealed carry permit. I feel better carrying it on my body," she said.
And according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Marra and the other women at the conference, aren't alone. In a study, it found a 60 percent increase in the number of women target shooters, going from just over 3 million in 2001 to 5.4 million in 2013. That's a statistic A Gun and A Girl founder says she sees support of every day.
"For a sense of empowerment," Julianna Crowder said. "When we see women conquer a firearm, it’s a piece of machinery, it’s a tool, then it puts into perspective that they can conquer other things in their life."
Crowder says the league started four years ago when she and four other girlfriends went to a gun range for a girls night out. She says they had such a good time, they started the league. It's since grown, and now there are 72 chapters across the country.