Several times a week you can hear gunfire echoing from Brandi Joseph’s scenic Southern California property. A licensed firearms instructor and dealer, Joseph decided to open Fortune Firearms in December to serve a growing and rapidly changing clientele.
“There is a huge uptick in female owners,” Joseph said. “Women are getting trained; women are carrying… liberal and conservative.”
Proof of that change pulled up Joseph’s long, dusty driveway in the San Jacinto Valley just before 10 a.m. for a Saturday social, of sorts. A group of seven African American women stepped out of their cars seemingly eager to start their first firearms training session.
“Our society and climate is changing… it’s just better to be prepared for your own safety and protection. That’s how we feel,” Laronya Day, who organized the outing, said.
Now in their early 50s, the women have been friends since they were kids in Los Angeles, about two and a half hours from Joseph’s business. And most of them acknowledge they lean left politically.
“Do you have some friends who would be totally turned off by this?” we asked Charlean Ward. “Absolutely,” she responded. “That’s their choice; I’m exercising my choice.”
Jamie Beverly looked less certain, if not uneasy. “Seeing all the guns on the table, I was like ‘ugh,’” Beverly said. “Would you ever want to carry?” we asked her. “I don’t think so,” she whispered.