JOPLIN, Mo.– Brandon Spaugy has been in the gun business for decades. He says it was rare when a woman came into buy a weapon, but that is not the case anymore.

“Well, it seems like back in the 80’s, we’d probably get maybe one out of 30 women buying a gun. And that’s changed so much now, now it’s about one out of five,” said Brandon Spaugy, Brandon’s Gun Trading Company.

While some of the increase in women buying guns is to get into hunting, Spaugy says that’s not the case at his store.

“Not a lot of women have just gone out and say, ‘I want to deer hunt now.’ There is still a percentage of that, but most of the women buying guns today want them for protection,” said Spaugy.

“It’s becoming more of a common thing for women to carry and to protect themselves,” said Erin Mahaffey, gun owner.

When Mahaffey took her conceal and carry permit class three years ago when she bought a weapon, there were only three other woman in the class. Matt Cowdin of the Missouri Southern Criminal Justice Program says that’s changed a lot in just the last few years, he says now it’s an even 50% split in men and women.

“Absolutely, I think there’s been, say, there’s been a definite increase as compared to years past. There’s a lot more women showing an interest in wanting to learn how to shoot and buy their own firearms,” said Matt Cowdin, MSSU Criminal Justice.

In fact, Cowdin says it’s only a matter of time before MSSU starts offering women only conceal and carry classes. Spaugy says there is so many more women buying weapons now, that he carries a product line specifically designed for women. The survey showed that in the year 2013, women accounted for 20% of all weapons sales.