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SALT LAKE CITY — When Dusti Shepard's husband got a gun last year, she decided it was time to put aside her fear of handguns and learn to use one.
Besides practicing her skills at a new shooting range in Sandy called The Armory, the mother of two young children obtained a concealed firearms permit. Now Shepard plans to carry a gun with her at all times.
"I feel the world is a lot more dangerous than it used to be, and I wanted to be prepared," Shepard said.
According to statistics from the Utah Department of Public Safety, the number of permits issued to women by the state of Utah has steadily increased over the last few years, and last year the numbers shot up.
In 2011, the state issued about 14,000 permits; in 2012 about 15,000 were issued; and in 2013, 34,597 permits were issued to women.
In fact, the emerging trend has prompted The Armory to cater to women. The owners even hired a woman to run the range.
Manager Chandy Bronson said she sees more and more women becoming comfortable with the idea of carrying a gun.
"Women want to be able to rely on ourselves, to take care of ourselves," said Bronson.
To see what may be driving women to carry guns, watch the video above.