(FOX19) - It's all over the news.
Cases like Brittany Stykes - a young pregnant mother who was gunned down in her car on a Brown County road. Her one-year-old daughter was also shot but miraculously survived.
Another case is Alisha Waters – a 31-year-old woman tracked down and shot by her estranged husband and paralyzed. She is currently recovering.
The recent headlines are terrifying. That's why so many more women are arming themselves.
Amy Hanlon is packing heat. FOX19 caught up with her at Target World in Cincinnati. Hanlon says she bought her first gun two years ago. She bought the gun for protection when she was driving frequently to West Virginia.
"A female at 2:00 in the morning, basically deserted road. I just felt better having it with me," explains Hanlon.
Gun sales to women are up. In a 2011 survey, 61 percent of firearm retailers reported a significant increase in female customers. More women are also target shooting and hunting. Women and Guns magazine estimates that the number of women gun owners as high as 17 million.
So why the trend? While some women proudly cite their second amendment rights, others say concerns over their safety or the safety of their families provide the main motivation.
"If you're at a gas station and somebody tries to highjack your kids in the back and they have a gun, you have to have a plan."
There are now gun classes advertised as 'just for women' as well as 'women only' shooting clubs and leagues. FOX19 found one such club called "She Can Shoot," which was started by a female secret service member. The club counts thousands of members in chapters across the country.
Gun manufacturers are also targeting the female audience, designing and marketing more 'feminine' firearms.
But whether sporting a pink semi-auto or a steel 357, women FOX19 spoke with say they think of their gun as the great equalizer.
"It's very powering to know if it's between you and me, and it's not gonna be me," says Hanlon.