Thirty year-old Melissa Snyder is an avid gun owner. On Wednesday she helped her sister pick out her first gun at Grice’s Gun Shop in Clearfield.
“I probably was gifted by first gun when I was 12 or 13 and I’ve been hunting and shooting my whole life,” says Snyder.
Grice’s Gun Shop says women are not shy about getting concealed carry permits. According to owner Tom Grice, “we sold a lot more firearms in the past few years to ladies that want to protect themselves.”
Snyder is proud to say she has a concealed carry. She works as bartender and claims a gun is necessary. “I’m a tiny woman too so it’s kind of scary leaving late nights. You never know if there’s going to be someone hiding behind a dumpster,” says Snyder.
However, Snyder can’t bring her concealed firearm into states with stricter gun laws, including New York. Now congress is trying to change that.
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would force all states to recognize each other’s concealed carry permit. The House passed the bill back in early December and now waits to be voted on by the Senate.
Grice says it wouldn’t change the licensing process, “you have to go through a background check. You also have to go through a background check to get the gun you want to use. So basically you’re checked out twice.”
Meanwhile, Some are worried what it could mean for gun violence. Bille Jo Weyant is the director of domestic violence non profit CAPSEA in Ridgway.
Weyant says this bill is a double edge sword, “this is part of our culture what many of us have grown up with. Families that have hunted.”
Weyant says blurring those state lines can strike fear in victims who search for safe havens away from their abuser. “A lot of times they take into account what current concealed carry and other gun laws are in that state- and a lot of times relocate due to that reason.”
While Snyder says women being able to carry guns anywhere would empower them to use it if necessary. “I think it’s smart to know how to shoot one, clean one use one.”