Gun toting women welcome at Conway shop

In the past five years, concealed weapons permits for women in South Carolina have more than tripled, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.

The number of women holding CWPs in the state have gone from 22,810 in 2009 to 72,374 in 2014.

Lori Lilley, owner of 'A Shooting Affair' on Fourth Avenue in Conway, says she is marketing to these new weapon permit holders.

"I feel that there is a market out there for this," Lilley said.

Lilley has only been open for a few years but so far, she's right. On average, she says she sees 30 to 50 customers a day walk through her door.

Her business carries everything from accessories to holsters and firearms - and almost everything in her store is designed for women.

Items like purses with hidden holster compartments, pink handguns and ankle holsters are all for sale.

"A lot of people feel intimidated when they go into a man's store. This is a place for women to feel comfortable. It's set up like a boutique," Lilley explained.

Savannah Barfield works in the store and is working on getting her CWP.

"It's great to come in and participate in some of the classes where you don't feel, you know, like an outcast or something like that where it's all males. It's all geared towards women. There's tips and tricks to defend yourself, being a petite woman, and it's nice," Barfield said.

Even though state police can't say for sure why more woman are carrying, Barfield said she does have some ideas.

"For many different reasons, violence, abuse, all these things that a lot of women go through. I don't want to be a victim someday of the same things," she said.

Although there's no direct link, SLED did note that the number of women getting permits increased after the school shootings that gained national attention, although some of the permits numbers can be attributed to renewals.