Hundreds of women showed up for free gun training in Detroit, Mich., on Sunday.
The event, which has been held annually for the last six years, saw its best turnout yet. Organizers said about 700 women expressed interest in the training and around 600 attended. The goal, they said, was helping women learn how to protect themselves.
"We teach women how to shoot and discharge a firearm, and a personal protection strategy," Rick Ector, the founder of Legally Armed in Detroit and creator of the event, told the Detroit Free Press. "This is an event to see if owning a gun for personal protection is right for you. If it's not right for you, find some other means of protecting yourself."
Ector, who is also a firearms instructor, told the paper that a number of his students have had to use their firearms in self-defense after attending one of his classes. Top Gun range, where the event was held, was packed with women of all ages from all over the Detroit area who hoped they'd never find themselves in similar circumstances but wanted to be prepared if they ever did.
"The world is getting so bad I have to defend myself," Jackie Plascencia told the Free Press.
"It's rough out there," Charlene Ybarra told the paper.
"I live in a safe area, but you just never know," Claudia Gutierrez said. "I've always felt it's people who kill, not the guns."
Others at the event worked on their accuracy. Sherry Dmitruchina, who hadn't shot a gun in decades, was able to put a group of shots where she was aiming after the training.
"Twenty shots, all in the same hole," Dmitruchina told the paper to applause from her fellow gun users. "I'm going to show my husband."
Still, self-defense was at the core of the training. Dan Korzeniewski, a volunteer shooting instructor at the event, told the Free Press he decided to volunteer his time because he wanted to help women "learn a skill set that could potentially protect them and keep their families safe."