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Courageous photo series celebrates 80 women who empowered themselves by owning firearms

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(NaturalNews) In the 1960s and 1970s, there was the "Equal Rights" movement, a civil rights crusade begun as a way to bring attention to inequality in work and society between men and women. The goal was not to take away from one sex and give to the other, but to recognize that differences existed and to empower women who sought to negate the imbalances.

Since then, empowering women has become a regular -- and worthy -- pursuit in American society, and there have been many accomplishments over the decades. But nothing has been more empowering for women than having the ability to defend themselves, in particular, through the prolific use of the Second Amendment. A recent photo series by a female photog in Houston captured this form of armed empowerment in dozens of pictures that feature "Texas women with some of their most prized possessions, the handguns they use for personal protection in public and in their inner sanctums," the Houston Chronicle reports.

A firearm is empowering

The paper noted:

Shelley Calton found 80 women for her photo series, titled "Concealed," which will be released by imprint Kehrer Verlag in Europe in March 2015 and later in the United States in September 2015.

Calton began her photographic project in 2011 after a friend was getting her hair done at a local salon and a friend's handgun went off accidentally in her purse. A bullet ricocheted around the room and nearly struck Calton's friend, the paper said.

That got the photog's creative juices flowing; the result was "Concealed," born out of a near-fatal incident. The paper noted that Calton began her series with a close friend of hers; through word of mouth, the photographer was able to hook up with dozens more Texas women who carry handguns concealed.

The youngest woman photographed for the series was 21 at the time; the oldest is a former mayor of Bunker Hill Village. Also, the series features a Houston-area criminal court judge. None of the women's last names were used, and some chose not to have their faces photographed, no doubt out of a desire for anonymity.

"They were captured Kerrville, Austin, San Antonio, League City, and Conroe. Some live in the Heights and Montrose neighborhoods in Houston," the Chronicle reported.

Calton -- who is a concealed carry license holder -- said 90 percent of the women she photographed were also licensed to carry concealed. And she said she heard repeatedly during her CHL course that a firearm was not an accessory but rather a very lethal, very real tool of protection.

"Some of the women collect guns like they would shoes or handbags, but they all take gun ownership very seriously. They practice regularly with them, and go to the gun range regularly," Calton said, adding that most carry 9 mm semi-automatic handguns, though some have opted for revolvers.

That said, the Chronicle examined in a recent story the dramatic rise in so-called "luxury gun ranges" throughout the state of Texas; many owners of such ranges have found it to be in their best financial interests to cater to female gun owners.

In the past, the scene was almost exclusively male, but in Texas, the Chronicle notes, that isn't the case, where there is "equal opportunity when it comes to firearms."

"Some carry everywhere they go"

The paper continued:

Women in Texas learn how to rack shotguns and load clips with their fathers on Saturday afternoons at gun ranges and deer leases.

Most of these women grew up with guns, Calton says, so they didn't have an aversion to them. Some women had a traumatic incident in their past that lead them to always have a handgun nearby. One was briefly kidnapped. Others were sick of feeling vulnerable and threatened. Some carry now because their significant others wanted them to be able to protect themselves and their children if needed.

"Some carry on their bodies everywhere they go, some in their purses, and some just in their cars and homes," Calton said, noting that one woman takes her concealed firearm with her in a small Coach purse.

One of her subjects said she got too close to Angel Maturino Resendiz, a serial killer who said he was half man, half angel, when he worked on her ranch during his terrorizing. Now, she says she is never without a firearm.

Perhaps one of the most eye-catching of Calton's photo series is that of a woman who owned a sex shop and liquor store, which she has since closed. She poses with a single-shot .22 clipped to her tank top and a revolver on her hip as she is surrounded by sex toys.

Some who have seen the photos have complained that many of the women are not practicing good trigger discipline (as in, they appear to have fingers on triggers). But Calton said to the paper that she insisted all her subjects unload their guns before being photographed.

"I asked them in advance to unload their guns, and then I check when I get there for the photo shoot," she said.

See some of Calton's photos here.





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