(MOBILE, Ala.) While some ladies love to shop, others would much rather take aim. Statistics show more women are packing heat in their purses. A nationwide trend that's certainly true here at home.
The number of women getting pistol permits in Mobile County is up dramatically.
Midtown resident Rachael Andrews recently got her permit. She carries a firearm for the fashionably conscience: a pink pistol.
"I just needed something to defend myself with," said Andrews.
Andrews says she decided to pack a pistol in her purse after several violent crimes were committed near where she worked in Midtown.
"People around me were constantly getting robbed. I had clients actually walk in to their cars that were held up at gun point. There was a murder behind the shop. So yea, a lot of stuff led to the point that I need to get a gun," said Andrews.
"I carry a Ruger .380. I carry it with me at all times," said Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich.
Rich has made quite a few enemies putting bad guys behind bars in her career as a prosecutor. She isn't taking any chances with her own safety.
"It gives me great comfort in knowing that the public knows the district attorney carries her own weapon," said Rich.
"I think it's just important that I have a mechanism by which I can protect myself," said Rich.
She shoots almost every weekend and says she's almost had to use her target practice skills in real life.
"I have had situations where I have actually put the weapon in my hands and had in my hands for safety if someone were to walk into the sanctity of my home," said Rich.
More and more women are choosing to arm themselves. In the past four years in Mobile County pistol permits are up for women 55%. According to the Mobile County Sheriff's Office, in January through October of 2008, 6,044 women got their pistol permit. Now, that number has climbed to 9,369.
"It has been some what of a surprise. We're seeing the largest increase in women obtaining permits for the first time," said Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran. "For every new guy getting their pistol permit, there are really two new women getting a pistol permit. A lot of women that have purses may very well have pistols in those purses."
"It makes me very proud that women are finally taking the stand and saying I'm going to carry a weapon. I'm going to take a stand and protect myself. I'm not going to leave it up to my husband or somebody else. And women are going to protect their families as well. I think that's our God given instinct," said Rich.
While crime concerns typically drive women to carry a gun, statistics show violent crimes like murder and robbery have continued to go down in the city in the past four years. But the perception for many is that crime is only getting worse. A perception that drives Andrews to take aim with her pink pistol.
"You need to be able to defend yourself, and seems like a lot of the time, crime is directed at women because we're more vulnerable. So I do think it is important that we do carry," said Andrews.
And according to the sheriff's department more caucasian women have their pistol permit than African American women.