'Armed and fabulous' women bringing energy to NRA
The NRA is showcasing women members and emphasising that increasingly it's not just men who own firearms and oppose gun-control efforts.
Female membership is up, America's leading advocate for gun ownership says, and its revamped website features profiles of "armed and fabulous" women and describes how women are bringing "new energy" to the NRA.
"This is the National Rifle Association catering to demand," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said.
"We've seen in the last few years an increase in women buying guns, joining the National Rifle Association, enrolling in personal safety classes and going out and organising women's-only hunts."
A number of the 550 vendors at the 142nd NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits over the weekend in Houston also had women in mind. Some were selling pink NRA T-shirts, and companies such as Concealed Carrie and Urban Moxy were offering handbags designed for concealed handguns.
Saleswomen for Urban Moxy – which describes itself as "loaded with style" – demonstrated how a gun can slide into a purse's lockable, neoprene-lined pocket.
The meeting of around 70,000 members comes less than a month after the NRA scored a major victory in Congress when it beat back a proposal to expand background checks for gun buyers.
Cindy Chambers of Houston claimed the background-check proposal targetted law-abiding gun owners, not criminals.
"We take our freedoms seriously," said Ms Chambers, who owns a travel company.
Ms Chambers attended the 7th Annual NRA Women's Leadership Forum Luncheon on Friday at the River Oaks Country Club.
"It was so empowering today to walk into a room full of an array of women with the same mindset," said another lunch attendee, Molly Fowler.