More Women Picking Up the Rifle

Gun safety courses have seen a significant increase in female enthusiasts after repeal of gun law

With the repeal of the federal long gun registry, firearms instructors in New Brunswick, Canada are experiencing an increased demand for their gun safety courses. More women and younger hunters are taking up the sport and doing so in a responsible way, by taking the safety courses.

Enrolment is up 20 percent in the last year alone. The end of the long-standing federal long gun registry has sparked an increase in enthusiasts using the shooting ranges and hunters heading into the woods, says firearms instructor Bob Kierstead.

In 1993, the federal government created the firearms registry and turned many young people off the use of guns and hunting. There we just too many hoops to jump through to bother with the sport. “The very, very restrictive legislation that came in on firearms in general, and that turned a lot of the young people away from it,” Kierstead says. “Too many hoops to jump through and they turned away from it. That was the big thing that we saw.”

Kierstead was pleased and a little surprised to see more woman signing up for his courses. “With our firearm courses, the percentage of female participation is increasing and for the first time in New Brunswick, we had an all-female firearm course,” he said.

After the long gun registry was eradicated last year we saw an increase of 23 percent enrollment, says Peter Palmer, Department of Natural Resources coordinator of hunter education courses. Lowering of the hunting age from 14 to 12 years of age also played a role as well as the media showing hunting in a more positive light, Palmer says.

“With the media showing hunting in a very, very positive light, with Wild TV and, you know, outdoor shows, people are looking at hunting and saying, `You know, I haven’t done it in a while. I think I’m going to get back in it,'” he said. “And they are benefiting from it as a family.”

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