The best fight is no fight, but Kristie Young still wants to know how to defend herself and her family. That’s why she applied for her concealed carry license.
“I think people think, as women, that the men should be able to protect everything, but I want to be somewhere and even be with my husband and even be on the same level, playing field and be able to protect all of us if we need to,” said Kristie Young, a Johnstown resident.
Vicky Bretz walks in the woods with her grandchildren and fears for their safety.
“I would have never thought I would have owned a gun, but times have changed,” said Bretz, another Johnstown resident.
The Cambria County Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) offers firearms safety and concealed carry courses throughout the year. Sergeant Michael Plunkard teaches the class. He said more and more people are applying for their concealed carry license, especially women.
“I’m not really sure why, but there definitely is a bigger population of women taking the class. We’ve had all women classes before,” said Sgt. Plunkard, who works for the Johnstown Police Department.
In 2014, Cambria County approved more than 3,500 concealed carry licenses. In 2016, there were more than 5,700. In 2017, the total number of licenses is on track to exceed 6,200.
“Violence happens here in our community. People are aware that the violence is increasing. They’re at risk, their families are at risk so there’s a lot more people wanting to protect themselves,” said Sgt. Erin Kabler, the assistant commander for Cambria County SERT.
Young said after taking the concealed carry course, she feels like she could take charge in a dangerous situation and take aim.
“It feels great, it feels liberating that I feel like I have control. I can have control over a situation that can go bad. And that just makes me feel so good,” Young said.