Two of every three handgun permits issued last year by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation went to a man, but women are catching up.
The number of permits going to women tripled over the last two years, while the number of permits going to men slightly more than doubled. Robert Jerome, owner of Invictus Personal Defense, is seeing more and more women interested in handguns.
"My overall majority of handgun lessons — learning how to shoot — right now are ladies," Jerome said. "For example, I've got three lessons today from ladies learning how to run guns, how to operate their handguns and shoot accurately."
From 2011 to 2013, the overall number of handgun permits issued by OSBI more than doubled. In 2011, 6,560 women and 17,458 men had their applications approved.
In 2012, there was a 75 percent increase in the number of women's applications approved. The number of men's applications approved increased by 62 percent.
In 2013, the number of permits issued to women increased by 75 percent again — a total of 20,257 gun licenses — while the number of men's applications approved increased by only 42 percent.
Women are also becoming a larger share of the number of denied permits. In 2011, one in 10 denials was for a female applicant. Last year, it was one in five.
OSBI denied 835 applications last year, most commonly for a prior drug conviction.
Overall, OSBI issued 60,628 gun permits last year, which is a 52 percent increase from 2012 and more than double the number issued in 2011. Jerome said there's usually an ebb and flow in the numbers.
"But over the last two years, it definitely has increased significantly," he said. "But I think the overall catalyst in the pickup in the last two years was due to the tragedy at Sandy Hook."
The average age of a gun permit applicant has held steady over the last few years at 50 years old.